Dear Confreres, Sisters, Lay Missionaries and all members of our Redemptorist Family,
In communion with Pope Francis and the whole Church, on Saturday, February 2, we celebrate the World Day for Consecrated Life. This is a special opportunity for us to reflect on the meaning and purpose of our missionary vocation, and especially, on the witness of the Consecrated Life of professed Redemptorist Missionaries.
In recent years on this occasion, Pope Francis has reminded us that we are invited to celebrate a feast of an encounter – with Christ our Redeemer, with one another in the community, and with the wounded, the abandoned and the poor with whom Jesus identifies himself so closely. In these messages, Pope Francis echoes the teaching of St. John Paul II who wrote that the joy of our encounter with Christ must overflow into our encounter with ‘the least of his brothers and sisters’:
“The quest for divine beauty impels consecrated persons to care for the deformed image of God on the faces of their brothers and sisters, faces disfigured by hunger, faces disillusioned by political promises, faces humiliated by seeing their culture despised, faces frightened by constant and indiscriminate violence, the anguished faces of minors, the hurt and humiliated faces of women, the tired faces of migrants who are not given a warm welcome, the faces of the elderly who are without even the minimum conditions for a dignified life.” [VITA CONSECRATA #75]
As Redemptorist Missionaries, this invitation resonates in our hearts: our encounter with Christ the Redeemer impels us to encounter the wounded, the abandoned and the poor. This is the spirit of our Constitutions – our religious consecration makes us truly missionary:
“Apostolic charity, through which the members share in the mission of Christ the Redeemer, is the principle that unifies their entire life. For it identifies them in a certain sense with Christ, who continues to fulfill the will of his Father by carrying on the redemption through them. Religious profession, therefore, becomes the definitive act of the whole missionary life of Redemptorists.” (Constitution 52)
Today, as we celebrate this feast in communion with the whole Church, let us renew our commitment as Redemptorist Missionaries personally and in our communities. May we become more prophetic and authentic Witness of the Redeemer in our wounded world today!
Your brother in Christ our Redeemer,
Michael Brehl, C.Ss.R.