The Holy Mass on 2nd February 2016, on the feast of the Presentation of the Lord, closed the Year of Consecrated Life. Dear Consecrated Brothers and Sisters, let us remember and give thanks for all the gifts and mercy which we have received during this year. How did you live this year which was the Year of Consecrated Life? What in particular did the Lord do for you? What are you grateful for when you summarise this year?
Father Eduard CSsR, Belarus: “The Year of Consecrated Life is like a pier under which flows a river. We all know that the river is a place where we can pleasantly spend time, think of the joyful moments of life and even watch an underwater world teeming with life. And the pier can help us in this – we can sit on it, put our feet in the water and enjoy the sun’s rays, or just lie on it and let our thoughts go back to our beautiful childhood. The Year of Consecrated Life was for me such a pier on which I could lie down and think, but also from which I could dive into the depths of a spiritual life consecrated to God.
It’s nice to think of the common initiatives of the Orders which took place this year in our country (Belarus), but especially the establishment of the Conference of Sisters and Monks in Belarus. It is a specific result and a fruit of the last year for the future. When I think about the end of the Year of Consecrated Life, I must mention all those brave and faithful ones thanks to whom these specific events took place. Their example of living their vocation, their initiatives and efforts only confirm the depth of the gift of monastic life in the Church. God, thank you that there are so many of us and that you think of each one of us!”
„…It is obviously a source of great hope and great encouragement because as long as there are people who answer: “Here I am Lord, send me”, then we see that everything we do, everything we strive for – i.e. to serve God, is in His hands and this work will have continuation…“
Father Josef SJ, Czech Republic: “From the profane and normal point of view, it was a year which brought the usual problems and usual challenges when man solves problems connected with individual life in the Order. In this aspect it was a year like many others. As for work, it was another year of service in the Church.
The gift which I perceive and which the entire province also recognises is that in September 2015 three young men took their first vows and one young man entered the noviciate. There have been several years during which no one has set out on this journey of consecrated life. Either there were no candidates at all or there were candidates we could not in the end accept or candidates who left during their noviciate. In such circumstances one feels like St Elizabeth who could not have children or like Samuel’s mother. One prays to the Lord asking what has been done wrong, why it is that there is no blessing. And this situation leads to sadness, hopelessness, loss of spirit. So the moment when those three men turned up and one started the noviciate in the Year of Consecrated Life is an encouragement because it is a great gift from God. A vocation is given only by God, nobody else. It cannot be simulated or enforced. It is free gift from God and requires the free response of a man who answers: “Yes, Here I am. Send me.” It is obviously a source of great hope and great encouragement because as long as there are people who answer: “Here I am Lord, send me”, then we see that everything we do, everything we strive for – i.e. to serve God, is in His hands and this work will have continuation. Simply said – we are not “childless”.
It is a gift that we, as a Jesuit province, have received. It is a gift for which I am personally very grateful.
I can say that this year was special: not only did new people arrive but also not one of my co-brothers died either. In my eyes, this is God’s mercy that our number did not decrease but in fact increased. And this is what I am particularly grateful for and for which I thank God.”