02 Feb Waking Up the World Through the Year for Consecrated Life
Each year on Feb. 2, the Church marks the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life. St. John Paul II established this observance in 1997 on the feast of the Presentation to thank God for the great gift of consecrated life, to promote greater knowledge of and esteem for it and to give consecrated persons the opportunity to renew fervently their total self-offering to God.
The Presentation was chosen because, on this feast, traditionally called Candlemas, Mass begins with a procession of blessed, lit candles, evocative of Simeon’s description of Jesus at the Presentation as a “light of revelation to the nations.”
Those in consecrated life, St. John Paul stressed, are those who reflect the light of Jesus’ total consecration to the Father and who, like the wise bridesmaids in Jesus’ parable, burn like lamps lit for the embrace of Jesus, the Bridegroom.
This year is an occasion to say thanks not only to God but to all those who have said Yes to God’s call to dedicate themselves to him as contemplative monks and cloistered nuns, as religious brothers, sisters and priests, as members of secular institutes and societies of apostolic life, as consecrated virgins, hermits and widows, and in so many new expressions of consecrated life by which the life, virtues and values of Jesus are daily made more visible, drawing us from the superficial to the sacred and from the ephemeral to the eternal.