The beatific vision and the life of consecration
A message from the Archbishop, Most Rev Kenneth Richards to those in Consecrated Life
As persons who have accepted to live the consecrated life, our action is noble, because we are committed to a way of life that is very noble.
In earlier days the purpose of the monastic life of the monk, or the cloistered life of the religious sister, was a withdrawing from society to live an ascetical life, free from the trappings of existence. A new meaning has to be given to those values today. Instead of withdrawing, we transcend, rise above in a way that is a freedom and discipline that is characterised by a detachment from the trappings of current existence. The common theme of then and now must be the response we are making to the Gospel message of Jesus Christ that finds a radical expression in our self-understanding and way of life.
Both are attempts at experiencing that communion which is a foretaste of the union that is the experience of the beatific vision. Everything in our existence is therefore to be viewed and treated as instrumental and not an end that preoccupies us, shackles us, and traps us.
The idea/reality of awaiting the beatific vision must be established as our motivation. The framework for this way of life is simply stated in that statement of our faith that has somehow been relegated to the catechisms of the past:
Who made you? God made me!
Why did God make you? To know Him, love Him, to serve Him so that
I can be happy in this world; and be happy with Him in the next!
It becomes necessary for us to, therefore, as Christians, and those in consecrated life, be prudently aware of the scepticism and cynicism that are intellectually fashionable in our day. Scepticism that denies the integrity and dignity of striving to attain the virtues of the Kingdom of God that can transform an individual to possess the Spirit of God.
Scepticism mockingly ridicules the sanctity of Christian virtues and the wholesome value of religious vows for the consecrated life. Scepticism questions the validity of all virtues, casting doubt intending to discard as outmoded and as illusions, the established virtues of the consecrated life to live in holiness.
The theological virtue of hope, on the other hand, must have an intentional expression in our lives in relationship to the motivation and commitment we have to live within the framework of the beatific vision. Hope means that as I await the fulfilment of the happiness of the beatific vision, I have a foretaste of that happiness now through a striving to embody and living the virtues of the consecrated life.
Therefore, let us, as consecrated persons, continue to commit and recommit to the spiritual values and idealism inherent to the consecrated life!