Thursday, June 14, 2007

Religious Life as a Gift of Self

In my introductory post, I talked about how my entering the Dominican postulancy this summer is joyful because of the idea of the gift of self behind it. Not to say that there aren’t other reasons, but since the Missionaries of the Eucharist are all about living out a gift of self, I figure that this’ll be an appropriate topic.

Anyway, in Vita Consecrata, Pope John Paul II wrote, "When poverty is lived according to the example of Christ…it becomes an expression of total gift of self which the three Divine Persons make to one another” (21). This idea of the gift of self, in giving everything up for the sake of the kingdom, is at the heart of religious life, and it’s a wonderful experience, or at least as I can imagine.

Simply offering all of yourself in a totally special way to the Lord, giving up all possessions, even your time, and becoming completely poverished would seem to really live out what JPII says in the Theology of the Body: “the power to express love: precisely that love in which the human person becomes a gift…fulfills the meaning of his being and existence” (TOB 15:1). So through giving up your life, all your possessions, and all attachments, all for the sake of the kingdom, would naturally fit what the Pope says “fulfills the meaning of…existence.”

How wonderful is this?! As St. Francis said, “It is giving that we receive." Through the gift of ourselves, we can find out what the meaning of our life is. Through this gift of self, we can truly imitate Christ and become Him for the world. This gift of self in religious life has such a wonderful resemblance of this Christ-like presence in the world for through poverty, we become like Christ who humbled Himself and gave up everything as He became man. He was born into poverty in Bethlehem , and He died in poverty, even wearing nothing, on the Cross. His whole life was full of perfect poverty. Pray for myself as I seek to emulate that wonderful evangelical counsel. Pray for all religious that they may live their vows as fruitfully as possible.

In Christ and St. Dominic,

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Who we are?

Every summer we, the Missionaries of the Eucharist, are walking from Lewiston, Maine to Washington, DC to proclaim the beauty of the Catholic faith to everyone we meet, specifically through the Theology of the Body.

Conversion begins in our own hearts,which is why prayer is so important to our ministry. For this reason, everyday of our ten week walk begins with daily Mass. By receiving Christ in the Eucharist, we are given the grace to be the Love of Christ not only to those in our community but also to those we meet in the streets.

We walk throughout the day to be a witness of love. We are grounded in prayer-we pray with our lips, our hearts, and our bodies. In walking an average of twenty-five miles per day, we offer our fatigue as a gift of love to Christ and the people we meet. Our walking is both sacrifice and prayer.