On Saturday night we celebrated 50 years of ministry by the Canossian Sisters in the Diocese of Darwin.
The women have ministered to migrants, refugees, and many others over so many years.
During the homily I reminded all of us that we have a unique vocation. We have a call from God which is particular to each individual.
The vocation of Religious in the church is about bearing witness to all of us of the three evangelical counsels.
Jesus gave this counsel, or advice, for those who wish to be ‘perfect’. Of course, no-one is perfect, only God is.
However, we are invited to aspire to a fuller Christian living, and to do this ongoingly throughout our lives. We never stop growing in our faith commitment.
The evangelical counsels are poverty, chastity, and obedience.
Jesus warned us about being over attached to material things. Those committed to Religious life renounce the right of not having private ownership of money, material possessions. Especially in these times we live in. We are reminded to take care of the earth and to live simply. We are also reminded not to get lost in the over accumulation of these things.
All are called to be chaste. The gift of our sexuality has its proper place in committed love, and the continuation of the human race. All Christians are called to value their sexuality as something sacred and beautiful to be expressed in the right way. Married couples, single people, young people still discerning their vocation, and consecrated celibates are all called to live a chaste life.
The word to obey comes from the Latin ‘obaudire’ which means to ‘listen’ intently. We are called to listen to God, source of all goodness, who wants the absolute best for us. Religious make a sacred promise to listen, to obey God, whose will is manifest in prayer, listening to the constitution of the Order, or Congregation, and channelled through their Religious Superiors.
The three evangelical counsels made by Religious remind all of us that we are called to the ‘simple’, and ‘uncomplicated’ life.
We are called to be unencumbered by excess baggage, to have a ‘child-like’ trust in God.
So, we give thanks for the Canossian Sisters and the other Religious men and women in our Diocese who remind us of these values in a very special way