The Meaning of a Consecrated Life
By Father Benjamín Romero Arrieta, CMF
At some point, perhaps we may have inquired about the meaning of a “consecrated life”. Perhaps we have limited its meaning to the men and women religious in charge of accompanying the ministries of our local parishes. But I also consider that the consecrated life may be lived from our own reality, by consecrating ourselves in love and truth as we help to build our church. I say love and truth because this is what I consider to be the meaning of being consecrated in service to the people of God.
As a child when I watched the love my parents shared with each other and the family every day, it made me consider that at some point in my life I could follow their example by consecrating and pouring the love God had placed in my heart into building a family of my own. Like any young person, I developed a vision of the world, but the most important thing in this complicated human process was discovering that the same love my parents had, helped me understand the path of love and dialogue with myself and others; a path that brought me to love life and clearly see the reality I desired as a responsible young person, faithful to Christian values.
For more than five years I worked as a Claretian volunteering a parish helping children learn to read and write and preparing them to receive the sacraments. However, the most beautiful experience was watching the smiles on their faces when they were able to write their names and read them out loud. My experience as a volunteer led to changes in my view of the consecrated life. Although I have experienced serious internal conflicts, since I find it unjust to see so much poverty while others have more than they need, the conflicts became clear and integrated into my life thanks to a spiritual companionship of a Claretian brother. It was then that I contemplated the idea of joining a religious order, because my desire to serve could not be limited to just a moment in my life, but to its totality.
Before and after being consecrated as a religious and Claretian missionary, I have always believed that the call from Jesus is always present in our lives and we can make it visible in many ways that will continue to build a more missionary church where justice, love and peace can continue to be the banner of its growth. This responsibility rests not just on the consecrated religious, but also all the youth and adult laity who consecrate their life from their own reality with unconditional service, love and truth, to serve local communities, helping them to experience the love and mercy that Jesus brings through his Word as discipleship.
Nuestra Parroquia, January 2011