The Consecrated Life

We would like to publish some homilies that Fr. Buela has written about the consecrated life. These homilies have been written especially for the Servidoras. We pray that these reflections only draws one closer to God.

Institute of the Incarnate Word

Institute of the Incarnate Word
Priestly Ordinations - Institute of the Incarnate Word

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Youth’s Response

One of the most disconcerting figures of the Gospel is the commonly called “rich young man.” Let us note his principal characteristics just as Saint Mark describes him in chapter 10:17-31.

1. He is not a lazy person who idly allows the time to pass nor is he indifferent to the realities of the world that surround him. He is a young man with doubts; he is a young man full of impetus and courage…a man ran up to Him (v. 17). He is neither apathetic nor listless. He is not dominated by indolence nor is he negligent. 

He is an educated youth who acts with rectitude of intention and for superior motives: Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life? He correctly judges Jesus considering Him as “teacher” and “good”. He does not ask him about trivial or temporal things, but rather his inquiry refers to the most substantial matter that each man must respond: eternity. For this reason alone, we can see that his head and heart are firmly rooted. 

In addition, we must say that for him, Jesus was not merely a man:[he] knelt down before Him… It is a youth filled with faith that recognizes Jesus as God and allowing himself to be taken up by a generous outburst, he prostrates before Him. 

He is a good youth; he lives in the grace of God! When Jesus reminds him of the commandments, the young man affirms: all of these I have observed from my youth (v. 20). He was not a hardened sinner nor an obstinate vicious man, nor insensible to moral beauty. He was neither impure nor cold-hearted towards his parents, or a practicing atheist. He lived in grace!

Jesus, the greatest Friend of young people, could not but manifest his love to him…Jesus looking at him, loved him…(v.21). It is impossible for a youth of his caliber to not feel the strength and sweetness of that look. How must his heart have been filled with tender and virile affections towards Jesus! He loved him (as every authentic youth knows)!

Jesus, seeing that the youth possessed good character or “subiectum” as St. Ignatius calls it, invited him to something more: He calls him to perfection, You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come follow me (v. 21). All he lacked was to embark on a closer following of Christ. He needed to renounce all temporal goods. He only had to do this act of courage by which one interiorly chooses-and is ready to take it to its ultimate consequences- the primacy of God over all creation, the preeminence of eternity over time, of the fleeting and contingency of everything that dies. 

And behold the unheard of! This good youth, who lived in grace, rejects the loving call of God. He, who had come running to the Lord, quickly leaves now saddened…his face fell, and he went away sad for he had many possessions (v. 22).

He preferred his riches to God. He did not want to detach himself from his temporal goods. He loved them more than the eternal ones.

What compassion and pity this youth excites sadly going away from Jesus who called him to a superior life! It is very painful to verify what P. Castellani would say, “he who was born to be a saber blade, quickly turned into a brass knife…”

Unfortunately, how often this story repeats itself! Some do not want to leave their riches, others their honors, others their personal affections: careers, study, art, sports, entertainment; others love their family, their girlfriend or their friends more than Christ. And for this reason there are more young people that live sadly and insensibly turn away from Christ; they were unfaithful to the call of God to live a life of evangelical perfection. They are unsuccessful by having frustrated in themselves the plans of God. 

They were lacking in generosity; they were frightened. They did not want to break from their mediocrity. They were overcome by the meanness of the environment in which they lived in. They were content with advancing at the pace of a midget. They were not capable of the whole adventure. Like the young man in the Gospel, perhaps they had a mind and heart but they were missing courage!

(Cont ...)

Friday, November 6, 2015

New Woman - The Consecrated Woman

The beginning of the homily - New Woman

The Consecrated Woman

The characteristics and role of the woman-mother must be present in every woman so that they may be completely fulfilled. However, to be a woman-mother is not only limited to the natural order, but rather it knows a sublime spiritual form in the consecrated woman.

“The theological root of the religious consecration is the baptismal consecration and confirmation. A sacramental consecration that bestows, along with the indelible character, sanctifying grace and consequently participation in the Trinitarian life of God; it is the foundation of the commitment of testimony in the Mystical Body. Religious consecration is an ecclesial acknowledgement of an interior call to a total surrender to God and to his salvific plan by means of the three vows.”[1]

This ‘special consecration,’ which entails an original charism, enables a person to scale the heights of love: a complete love, dedicated to Christ under the impulse of the Holy Spirit and, through Christ, offered to the Father.[2]

Each consecrated person is called to live fully the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience. In reference to the role of the consecrated woman, the Pope elucidates numerous times the importance of virginity or evangelical chastity and obedience to the will of God. “By professing the counsels you proclaim that Christ is to be loved with an undivided heart.[3]

a. Chastity, The Undivided Heart
The first to understand the desire for union of the heart with God was the Blessed Virgin: “The will of Mary to preserve her virginity is surprising in an environment where that ideal was not yet diffused. Her decision was the fruit of a special grace of the Holy Spirit which arose in her heart the desire to offer herself totally to God in body and soul, thus, fulfilling, in a more elevated manner and humanly unimaginable, the vocation of Israel to be espoused with God, to belong to Him in a total and exclusive form as his people.”[4]

The Holy Father emphasizes that the desire to live chaste is a special grace of the Holy Spirit. For this reason, docility to all that the Interior Master inspires in the souls of the religious is necessary for a loving response of the heart to the divine will.

Consecrated life requires a total surrender to Christ. There is no union when that surrender is limited by commitments outside of Christ. There is no docility to the holy inspirations if one listens to other voices that seek interests other than those of the Master. There are no fruits if the love is divided among other things distinct from the Holy Spouse. Lastly, all is born from love, all is moved by love, and love is only holy when it finds itself wholly within the Love of all Loves.

“The state of consecrated virginity makes the praise of Christ more spontaneous, listening to His word quicker, service to Him more joyful, and the occasion of offering Him the homage of your love more frequent.  Yet consecrated virginity is not a privilege, but rather a gift of God, which implies a strong commitment in following Him and being His disciple… ‘[consecrated] virginity is expressed . . . the radical nature of the Gospel, which consists in leaving everything and following Christ.’”[5]

One of the characteristics of woman is to make a gift of herself. In “this following of Christ expressed as ‘service,’ we can also discover the other feminine quality of self-giving, so vividly expressed by the Virgin Mary in her final words to the angel: ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word’ (Lk 1:38).”[6]

This gift of self is aimed at the service of God and men – souls –  and many times implies sacrifice. To give of self is to give one’s own life for others so that the other may decide what to do with this gift. It is a total service that accompanies a profound degree of self-forgetfulness in order to be totally free for the service of the other. Once again love, unto the forgetting of oneself, is what achieves in a person the sincere gift of self. 

Virginity is lived for the sake of the kingdom; the consecrated woman desires by means of this vow of chastity to anticipate the life in heaven. In this way, she gives testimony to humanity of the fullness of divine love in her life. In addition, she begins now to live more intimately united to her divine Spouse.

b. Obedience
The root for this vow of consecration is also found in the life of the Holy Virgin. “Mary completely dedicated herself during many years to the service of her Son. She helped him to grow and to prepare himself for his mission in the home and in the carpentry of Nazareth; she shows us the way to perfect docility to Christ saying: Do whatever He tells you (Jn 2:5). Consequently, Mary shows to the consecrated the way of surrender to Christ in the Church as a family of faith, charity, and hope, and she obtains for them the marvels of the manifestation of his sovereign power of her Son, our Lord and Savior.”[7]

Docility to the divine will is intimately united to faith in the all-powerful God who does all things with a purpose. If one trusts more in one’s own strength than in that of the Creator, one loses the docility necessary to reach those hidden ends in the plan of salvation.

The service of the Virgin is always underscored by humility, and so it should be with every Servant, always ready to listen to the voice of the Lord. “With regard to the angel's message, the Virgin makes no proud demands nor does she seek to satisfy personal ambitions. Luke presents her to us as wanting only to offer her humble service with total and trusting acceptance of the divine plan of salvation. This is the meaning of her response: ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word’ (Lk 1: 3 8).”[8] It is significant that the attitude of the Virgin’s humble service is not a purely passive reception but rather the love of God that moves her to freely chose to be His Servant.

c. Sponsa Christi
“Love Him as He desires to be loved in your concrete life:  ‘If you love Me, you will keep My commandments’ (Jn 14:15; cf. 14:21).  Love Him as is fitting to your spousal condition:  assuming His same sentiments (cf. Phil 2:5); sharing His way of life consisting in humility and meekness, love and mercy, service and joyful availability, untiring zeal for the glory of the Father and the salvation of the human race.”[9]

The Holy Father has tirelessly spoken of the beauty of the feminine vocation called to be the Spouse of Christ. He depicts the plan of a life with Him consisting in the imitation of Christ in concrete life. Thus, only in this way does the possibility of being united with Him, of understanding Him, and of giving ourselves to Him exist:  even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her (Eph 5:25). 

The desire to give oneself to another out of love is part of the feminine nature characterized by subjectivity. For this reason, “it cannot be denied that the feminine soul has a particular capacity to live in a mystical spousal relationship with Christ and thus to reproduce in herself the face and heart of his Bride, the Church.[10]

In this, the Holy Father emphasizes that it is of great importance for the consecrated woman to love the Church and even more so to be the Church, to be like the beating heart of the Church who is Mother.

d. Spiritual Motherhood
Every spousal relationship recognizes the fruits of its love in children, both spiritual as well as material. Likewise, every woman is called to motherhood, where she is fully realized as woman. Spiritual motherhood is something proper to the religious life and measures the fruits of the spousal relationship of the consecrated women with her divine Spouse. 

In the Virgin Mary we “understand the true meaning of motherhood, which attains its loftiest dimension in the divine plan of salvation. For her, being a mother not only endows her feminine personality, directed towards the gift of life, with its full development, but also represents an answer of faith to woman's own vocation which assumes its truest value only in the light of God's covenant.”[11]

The religious offers herself body and soul to her Spouse so that the children of this world may be born into the light of the eternal Kingdom. She offers her collaboration and wholly surrenders herself to this call to follow the Sorrowful Mother Mary, who beneath the Cross of her divine Son was confirmed in her calling to be the mother of all men… “The new maternity conferred to Mary on Calvary is a gift that enriches all Christians but that has a more notable value for consecrated. Her communion of ideals with John and with all the consecrated permits her maternity to expand itself in its fullness.”[12] Children are engendered by pain, and it is thus that woman, in imitation of Our Lady of Sorrows, is more intimately united to the Cross of Jesus Christ. The fruits of that pain are the children whom we engender for the Father.

[1] “The key to your religious vocation is ever more ardent theological love.” Address to the participants in the assembly of the International Union of Superior Generals, 18 May 1995.
[2] John Paul II, Apostolic journey to the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Australia and Sri Lanka.  Liturgy of Lauds, Sydney, 19 January 1995.
[3] Ibid.
[4] John Paul II, “The Holy Virgin Mary and the Consecrated Life.” Catechesis of the Pope during the general audience of Wednesday, 29 March 1995.
[5] John Paul II, “May Christ Be Your Total and Exclusive Love”  International Conference of Consecrated Virgins, Rome In audience with Pope John Paul II, 2 June 1995.
[6]John Paul II, “Women religious faithfully serve Christ.” L’Osservatore Romano, 22 March 1995. Cited in
[7] John Paul II, “The Holy Virgin Mary and the Consecrated Life.” Catechesis of the Pope during the general audience of Wednesday, 29 March 1995.
[8] John Paul II, “Mary Sheds Light on Role of Women,” L'Osservatore Romano, English Edition, 13 December 1995, page 11.
[9] John Paul II, “May Christ Be Your Total and Exclusive Love”  International Conference of Consecrated Virgins, Rome In audience with Pope John Paul II, 2 June 1995.
[10] John Paul II, “Women religious faithfully serve Christ.” L’Osservatore Romano, 22 March 1995.
[11] John Paul II, “Mary Sheds Light on Role of Women,” L'Osservatore Romano, English Edition, 13 December 1995, page 11.
[12]John Paul II, “The Holy Virgin Mary and the Consecrated Life.” Catechesis of the Pope during the general audience of Wednesday 29 of March 1995.