This morning I will be attending a ceremony for the consecration of a virgin living out her vocation in society today. It’s a special event for me because I am approaching my 20th anniversary of being a consecrated virgin. It’s a vocation that is not well known, yet it is the most ancient form of consecrated life in the Church. Long before there were religious orders, women were responding to a call from God to give themselves to him alone—body and soul. With the advent of religious communities, the practice of living a consecrated life in the world faded away. This rite was restored after Vatican Council II and it is slowly growing as a recognized choice for women who seek to dedicate themselves to the Lord in the Church.
I think this is a vocation whose time has come. Never has there been such a need for a witness to consecrated life lived in the midst of society. In a way that is not always possible for religious orders, consecrated virgins are rubbing shoulders with “just folks” all the time. We are a witness of the love of God in the world.
Nothing but a vital relationship with God and the overflowing love he has for each person could ever inspire such devotion.
In our sexually charged society the reaction is always interesting if you mention you are a consecrated virgin. People start looking for the exits, just in case it might be catching. The word “virgin” is controversial in a society that vehemently supports every possible sexual expression. The sky is the limit!
Yet a growing number of women are joyfully choosing a life that runs counter to the cultural norms of success and fulfillment. By lives of service, of prayer and of joyful witness to God’s goodness, the good news of Christ is spreading into every corner of society.
So today is a joyful day to me as I remember the joy of my own consecration and renew in my heart that surrender to God alone. For more information about this vocation visit www.conscratedvirgins.org.
Photo Credit: Jacek Chabraszewski/PhotoXpress