Saturday, May 5, 2012

From: The Smoke of Satan in the Temple of God

Lumen Gentium instructed that religious are to live out the counsels in community to a greater degree in service to the Church (living for God alone), and in doing so model for the laity what grace can accomplish. Reflecting upon why God made us, which is to share in His life forever, religious are only too happy to be a road sign for the rest of humanity pointing the best way to love of neighbor. Paul VI, expanding on Lumen Gentium, alluded to this in Evangelica Testificatio, his Apostolic Exhortation of June, 1971:

It is precisely for the sake of the kingdom of heaven that you have vowed to Christ, generously and without reservation, that capacity to love, that need to possess and that freedom to regulate one's own life, which are so precious to man. Such is your consecration, made within the Church and through her ministry—both that of her representatives who receive your profession and that of the Christian community itself, whose love recognizes, welcomes, sustains and embraces those who within it make an offering of themselves as a living sign "which can and ought to attract all the members of the Church to an effective and prompt fulfillment of the duties of their Christian vocation...more adequately manifesting to all believers the presence of heavenly goods already possessed in this world.

The religious life, then, according to Vatican II, is to reveal the transcendence of God’s Kingdom, which takes precedence over all earthly considerations. The hierarchical Church for its part is empowered “to make wise laws for the regulation of the practice of the counsels,” and ensure that religious institutes, whose members were to respect and obey bishops in accordance with canon law, develop and flourish in harmony with the spirit of their founders.