Once a rich young manasked Jesus: “Good teacher, whatmust I do to inherit eternal life?”Jesus replied: “ You know thecommandments”. Theyoungsterresponded happily: “I have kept allthese since my youth”. Looking athim Jesus said lovingly: “ Sell allthat you own and distribute themoney tothe poor, and you willhave treasure in heaven; thencome, follow me”(Lk 18:18-22).Right from the beginning of the Church, therewere sets of people who aspired and tried forperfection. They renounced all the luxuries of life and through a life of penance, imitated Jesus closely

    Religious Life and Martyrdom

                                    During the time of kings, who were religiouspersecutors, many had to sacrifice their lives topreserve faith. Those who confessed their faith inJesus and accepted death amidst severe torture are venerated as saints by the Church. The faithfulembraced martyrdom as an easy way to achieveeternal bliss. Once the religious persecution was over,the faithful found the religious life as a way to attainperfection. There were many sages who spent theirlives in loneliness and meditation in the forests and deserts

                                .The religious life started with the intention offollowing Jesus more freely and intimately. Thereligious attain realization of life and bliss in an interpersonal relationship with Jesus.

    Religious Life, the Sign of the

    Kingdom of God

                               The religious life is a supreme sign of theKingdom of God according to the teachings of theSecond Vatican Council (The Religious Life 1).Itremains as a visible sign of ability and responsibilitythat can persuade the members of the Church torender the duties of Christian vocation. The religiouslife inspires the members of the Church to forgo theevanescent material pleasures and try for thepermanent heavenly bliss. The religious life makes itclear that the Kingdom of God is very important and beyond that all is material (The Church 44). 

    Religious Life: an Intimate

    Imitation of Jesus

                                 The aim of the religious life is to imitate Jesusof the Gospel. The religious are obliged to revealJesus, who prayed in loneliness, healed the sick,comforted the sorrowful, led the sinners through thecorrect path, blessed the children, and did good to allthe people of the world. Through the religious, theChurch is able to introduce Jesus who fulfilled the will ofhis Father both to the believers and non-believers (The Church 46).


    Religious Life and

    the Evangelical Counsels

                       The foundation for religious life is theevangelical counsels of obedience, chastity, andpoverty. The religious accept these vows and followfaithfully so as to be witnesses of Christ. They tryto grow into the perfection of the heavenly Father by avow-bound community life. The vows of the religiouslife enable a person to outlive the obstructions that block his way to imitate Jesus.

    Reward for Self-Denial

                                                 Jesus ordered his disciples: “He who wishes tofollow me should renounce himself and carry his crossand come after me. He who wishes to save his life willget it lost and he who loses it for my sake shall find it.”The religious are those who take into account thiscommand and follow him. They follow the vows ofobedience, poverty and chastity and dedicate theirlives to God.The superb example of obedience is Jesus. Just asJesus was obedient even to the extent of his death on the cross, the religious too sacrifice their pleasures for the sake of fulfilling the will of God. Poverty proclaimsthat God is the true treasure of man ( The Religious Life21).

                                               The religious accept the vow of poverty just asJesus, despite being rich, has become poor for oursake. Chastity helps the religious to love God and serveboth God and man with an undivided heart (1Cor. 7:32-34).

    Religious Life, in the Church

    and for the Church

                             The place of Christian religious life is in theChurch. Every religious community must have its ownidentity and activity so as to work for the good of theChurch (The Religious Life 1). The religious arededicated to work for the welfare of the Church. Beinginspired by the Holy Spirit, they dedicate their lives toJesus and the Church. All the religious communitiesmust partake in the life of the Church. Every religiousorder, true to its spirit, should own and nurture thediverse attempts of the Church in various fields such asthe holy scripture, liturgy, theology, pastoral care,ecumenism, missionary work , social activity etc (TheReligious Life 2).

    Religious Life in the Church and

    in the World

                                    The spiritual wisdom acquired by the yogicmonks through their constant contact with God was ever an asset to the Church. The ancient monks through the translation of the Holy Scripture and thewriting of spiritual books enriched the spiritual fund ofthe Church.

                        Today, the religious render praiseworthy servicein the Church through prayer and a life of perpetualvows. Late Pope John Paul II said that the religious lifeis ingrained in the heart of the Church. It is a gift to theChurch given by God the Father through the Holy Spirit.

                          Through their service in schools, hospitals,orphanages, the houses for the mentally retarded andthe handicapped, old-age homes etc., the religiouscongregations partake in the evangelization ministry ofthe Church. Thus, many people experience peace, happiness and love through their service.

    Vocation is a Gift of God

                                     Divine vocation is a gift of God to mankind. It i not a selection by man, but by God. God said to prophetJeremiah: “ Before I formed you in the womb, I knewyou…I appointed you a prophet to the nations” (Jer.1:5).Jesus said: “You did not choose me; but I choseyou”.(Jn.15:16). Even today Jesus invites the youth fora life founded on vows. “Follow me and I will make youfish for people” (Mt.4:19). Jesus who invited the firstdisciples makes the same invitation even today.Hence, we must all lend our ears to know if he calls us.All the youngsters-boys and girls-are duty-bound torespond to the divine call for dedication of life and be ofJesus to serve the people of God. Let us pray God to grant His grace for the same

    LET US


    (1Cor. 7 : 25 - 35)

    A Verse to Remember

    "If you wish to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give the money to the poor,
    and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me” (Mt.19:21).

    Let us Pray

    O Lord Jesus, please empower us to recognize your call to a
    life of dedication and render you service accepting the call.

    My Resolution

    I will pray for the grace needed to recognize my vocation and respond accordingly.

    Teachings of the Fathers of the Church

    The life of dedication is what remains in the heart of the
    Church itself; it remains as a critical element of her mission.