From the moment of baptism we have been sealed with the sign of the death and resurrection of Jesus, and we have received the Holy Spirit who enables us to cry out "Abba, Father!" (Romans 8:15). Christ has chosen us from among the many belonging to his Mystical Body to live our baptismal consecration in a special way. The total and definitive offering of our lives to God, made publicly in the Church, consecrates us entirely to his love and to the service of others through the mission of the Congregation.
Our offering consists in the profession of the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience lived in an apostolic community. By this profession we are drawn more deeply into the mystery of the abasement and the exaltation of Christ, knowing that if we die with him we shall also rise with him. The vows express our willingness to lose our life in order to gain it (Luke 9:24) and they take precedence over some precious human values. Religious profession does not destroy our rapport with human society and ail creation. Profession can broaden and transform it, furthering the development of ail that is best in us. With love as their whole purpose, the vows will help us, if we are faithful, to become new creatures in the Spirit. This fidelity makes us more like Christ and brings us gradually to our full human and spiritual stature in him.
Living the vows leads to the true freedom of the children of God. The vows are a force against the disordered attractions of pleasure, possessions and power. They focus our lives entirely on God in faith, helping us to remain attentive to his presence and to surrender to his action. They make us more available to work with Christ for the kingdom. Light and darkness alternate on this path to liberty. Renunciations made for the sake of love involve us in a spiritual combat which recalls to us the Gospel command "Watch and pray" (Matthew 26:41). We rely on the support of the community and, above all, on the unchanging love of the Lord who promised the hundredfold and his joy to those who would leave ail to follow him.
Formation in its various aspects must help us intensify our gift of self to Christ so that we become instruments of his love for others. Based on Scripture, spiritual theology and the spirituality of the Congregation , its purpose is to make of us apostles intimately united to Jesus, sent by himas he himself is sent by the Father.
A sharing by Sister Kate Stogdon