A Prophetic Witness in the Face of Great Challenges

‘Vita Consecrata’ series part 10 of 12

from Vita Consecrata #84-95

In 1989, as youth from around the world gathered in Spain for World Youth Day a reporter asked Blessed John Paul II “what he had come to see?” The ‘soon-to-be-saint’ responded, “I have come to greet the martyrs of the third millennium.” In Peter Kreeft’s book Jesus Shock, he says, “Our Culture has filled our heads but emptied our hearts, stuffed our wallets but starved our wonder. It has fed our thirst for facts but not for meaning or mystery. It produces ‘nice’ people, but we need heroes.”

Martyrs and Heroes – When we hear those words our hearts are stirred, but I think to a degree we doubt it’s possible ‘for us.’ We’re sure it’s true for others but most likely not for us. These thoughts put limits on the freedom Christ won for us. The world needs hero martyrs – men and women who are willing to die to themselves, to pursue authentic self-less love in their vocations.

In Vita Consecrata, Blessed John Paul II speaks about the prophetic witness of consecrated life. He says, “Prophets feel in their hearts a burning desire for the holiness of God and, having heard His word in the dialogue of prayer, they proclaim that word with their lives, with their lips and with their actions, becoming people who speak for God against evil and sin.” (VC #84) He goes on to describe what is required of these witnesses, “the constant and passionate search for God’s will, for self-giving, for unfailing communion in the Church, for the practice of spiritual discernment and love of the truth.” (VC #84)

We might ask, what is the role or purpose of this prophetic witness? To which, Blessed John Paul II in Vita Consecrata # 85 responds, “In our world, where it often seems that the signs of God’s presence have been lost from sight, a convincing prophetic witness on the part of consecrated persons is increasingly necessary. In the first place this should entail the affirmation of the primacy of God and of eternal life…”

It’s not about the degrees we’ve earned, the people we know, the impact we’ve left on history – Our lives are about God our Creator and the LOVE He has for each of us personally. Our lives are about the ultimate destiny He has planned for each of us with Him in eternal life!

May we pray for the grace to live the truth of God’s primacy each day. Bowing our hearts before the Lord and allowing Him to be first and central in our prayer, in our relationships, discernment, and vocations, so that He might make of us witnesses, heroes and martyrs.

This meditation is part 10 of 12 in our series on Blessed John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consecrata.  You can download a copy of this document from the Vatican’s website: www.vatican.va