A Radical Life

In his column for the September 2011 New Earth, the newspaper for the Diocese of Fargo, Bishop Samuel Aquila shared his own rich experience of World Youth Day. Toward the end of his column, he quoted at length Pope Benedict XVI’s address to young women religious, given during his August 19th meeting with them:

“It is not by accident that consecrated life is ‘born from hearing the word of God and embracing the Gospel as its rule of life. A life devoted to following Christ in his chastity, poverty, and obedience becomes a living exegesis of God’s word. . . . Every charism and every rule springs from it and seeks to be an expression of it, thus opening up new pathways of Christian living marked by the radicalism of the Gospel'” (Verbum Domini, 83).

“This Gospel radicalism means being ‘rooted and built up in Christ, and firm in the faith'” (cf. Colossians 2:7). In the consecrated life, this means going to the very root of the love of Jesus Christ with an undivided heart, putting nothing ahead of this love (cf. St. Benedict, Rule, IV, 21) and being completely devoted to him, the Bridegroom, as were the saints, like Rose of Lima and Rafael Arnáiz, the young patrons of this World Youth Day.

“Your lives must testify to the personal encounter with Christ, which has nourished your consecration, and to all the transforming power of that encounter. This is all the more important today when we see a certain “eclipse of God” taking place, a kind of amnesia which, albeit not an outright rejection of Christianity, is nonetheless a denial of the treasure of our faith, a denial that could lead to the loss of our deepest identity” (Message for the 2011 World Youth Day, 1).

“In a world of relativism and mediocrity, we need that radicalism to which your consecration, as a way of belonging to the God who is loved above all things, bears witness.”

4 thoughts on “A Radical Life”

  1. She probably needs to become at least a “blessed” or more likely a “saint” before she becomes the “patron” of anything, though she sounds like a wonderful, holy woman who someday will “make the grade.” Surely the Church has to continue looking for ways to pastorally care for all, though the WYDs seem like a stroke of inspired genius when it comes to reaching out to youth. Maybe you’re too old for youth events, but you still are a valued, gifted part of the Church.

    1. I don’t consider myself as ‘a valued, gifted part of the Church’ in being a middle-aged single Catholic woman. I don’t even have any ‘gifts’!

      I’m a nobody! I don’t have any organizing abilities, nor am I a ‘leader-wannabe’. I live a hidden life, ‘under the radar’ (or least trying to). I don’t run around attempting to be ‘Mother Teresa’ (don’t get me wrong, i love and admire Blessed Mother Teresa- I’m not a ‘social worker’).

      If you’re still single by the time you hit your ‘middle years’, the Church pays no attention till you’re a senior citizen.

      That’s my beef…..

  2. When I heard of who the patron saints of World Youth Day were going to be, I wondered why Venerable Maria Teresa Quevedo, a native of Madrid who died in 1950, wasn’t chosen as a patron( I mean, St. Rose of Lima wasn’t even FROM Spain-she lived and died in South America!).

    Venerable Teresita would have been a better choice! She was a member of the Institute of the Carmelites of Charity in the last four years of her brief life (1946 to 1950). A popular, athletic girl who was a Sodalist of Mary in her school years, and who consecrated herself to Jesus through Mary at age 13, she became ill with tuberculous meningitis while still a novice, and made her final vows on her deathbed before dying on April 8, 1950, only five days before her 20th birthday. (Coincidentally, both her birthday, April 13, 1930, and her death day, April 8, 1950, fell on Holy Saturday!)

    Teresita was made ‘Venerable’ by Blessed John Paul II in 1983. I had often wondered why she wasn’t beatified under John Paul II. She would have been a perfect beatification candidate for him, because they were both Marian souls, having used the DeMontfort formula of consecration!

    Going back to the topic: I know that WYD is about ‘youth’, and the Holy Father did give an inspiring address to the young religious at El Escorial. But what about us ‘older’ (i.e. over 35) single adult Catholics? Why are we made to feel like ‘chopped liver’ with regards to religious life? I know that religious communities have upper age limits for a reason-they don’t want the burden of caring for religious who enter at a late age and then their health might start to go down downhill. It’s hard enough living in this world, struggling to save our souls in a corrupt and unbelieving culture and feeling alone in it.

    It seems to me that once you hit 35, and you’re either not married and have a lot of kids, or else in the priesthood or religious life by then, it’s simply ‘fuhgettaboutit” (that’s ‘forget about it’ in ‘New Yorkeese’)! We are considered to be the ‘great invisible demographic’ in the Church! Then all we’re good for is doing menial work in the parish and in the workaday world!

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