Birth of Divine Life


‘Vita Consecrata’ series Part 4 of 12

from Vita Consecrata #29-34

“Five, four, three, two, one…HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! (* Explosions of noise-makers and horns in the background *). As the eyes of millions watched the ball drop in Times Square, the eyes of the Sisters, along with fifty young women gazed on something, or rather Someone very different.  Kneeling in Eucharistic Adoration gazing at Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, some had the experience of their spiritual lives being brought back to life. “Behold I Make All Things New” was the theme of the Young Women’s Retreat held over three days at Villa Maria Guadalupe, ending on New Year’s day. Silence, prayer, talks on the Feminine Heart and God’s healing mercy, and a Midnight Mass on New Year’s Eve were just a few highlights from the retreat. On New Year’s Eve the women gathered in the chapel for a Eucharistic Healing Service. One by one each came forward to the altar rail waiting for the priest to pause in front of her with Jesus exposed in the Blessed Sacrament. While the world was clamoring with noise that evening, the silence of Eucharistic Adoration made room for the Word of God to be heard. 

The Consecrated Religious is called to receive the same Word of God every moment of her life and to depend on Jesus for everything. Blessed John Paul II speaks of two dimensions of Consecrated Religious Life in Vita Consecrata (VC): spousal love and spiritual motherhood.  She is called to be “completely and exclusively devoted to her Spouse from whom she receives every good thing.” (VC #34)  This spousal love with Jesus her Divine Bridegroom becomes “the source of a particular fruitfulness which fosters the birth and growth of divine life in people’s hearts…Consecrated persons express their spiritual fruitfulness by becoming receptive to the Word, in order to contribute to the growth of a new humanity.” (VC #34)

As Sisters of Life we have the privilege of witnessing the transforming power of Jesus in the hearts of those who come to us on retreat at Villa Maria Guadalupe. Thousands of women and men have come on retreat and have been renewed in their spiritual life through the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Confession.   At the recent Young Women’s Retreat over New Year’s, one woman told us, “Jesus said to me, ‘Do not be afraid, I am with you always.’ I have never heard God speak to me before.  This was the first time, and I know it was because of the prayers of the Sisters.”  Spiritual motherhood is real.

It is through the active receptivity of the Word – Jesus – that the Consecrated Religious is called to ‘foster the birth and growth of divine life in people’s hearts.’  It is not so much what the Consecrated Religious does, but how receptive she is to the Word, her Divine Spouse, that brings about the birth and growth of Divine life in the hearts of her spiritual children.  The more she yields to the movements of the Heart of Jesus, the greater the fruitfulness He will bring about in and through her.     

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This meditation is part 4 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