Celebrating the Year of Consecrated Life, St Joseph’s Church, Monaghan, 8 November 2015

Evening Prayer of the Church

Celebrating the Year of Consecrated Life

St Joseph’s Church, Monaghan

Sunday, 8 November 2015 at 5.00pm.


 My dear friends in Jesus Christ, welcome to you all, especially welcome are those of you in consecrated life. You may not be fully aware of it but you have been an inspiration to the rest of us in the generosity of your self-giving. You gave up on many of God’s precious gifts to us so that your gift of your own life in the service of others could be more complete. We invited you to gather with us before God’s table because we had something to say to you. When he issued a letter on the Consecrated Life Pope Francis gave three aims. The first purpose he said was to give us all a chance to look to the past with gratitude. We want to say thanks to all of you for bringing us the light of Jesus Christ.



Evening Prayer of the Church

Celebrating the Year of Consecrated Life

St Joseph’s Church, Monaghan,

Sunday, 8 November 2015 at 5.00pm.



My dear friends,

I’m told that, in general, to consecrate is to set something aside from the common and profane to dedicate it to the service and worship of God. In that sense, the “Consecrated Life” is a loose term and could go back to the remotest times and include Abraham and Moses. In practice, when we hear the description ‘consecrated life’ we think of religious orders, missionaries, celibate brothers and sisters and we think of individuals like Thomas Merton, Archbishop Oscar Romero, St Teresa of Avila, St Brigid and Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

Pope Francis’ second aim in setting aside this year of Consecrated Life was to help all of us live the present with passion. We are asked to challenge ourselves with questions like “is the Gospel truly the ‘manual’ for our daily living and the decisions we are called to make?” “Are we learning from Jesus himself the meaning and practice of love?” Pope Francis quoted St John Paul 11 when he exhorted the faithful – “The same generosity and self-sacrifice which guided your founders must now inspire you, their spiritual children, to keep alive the charisms which, by the powers of the same spirit who awakened them, are constantly being enriched and adapted while losing none of their unique character.”

Sisters of Mercy, Sisters of St Louis, Members of the Christian Brothers and Presentation Brothers, Daughters of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Members of the Passionist Fathers at the Graan and the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary at Tanagh you are heirs to a noble tradition. You came here to share the special charisms of your founders in health, education, care of the sick and aged as well as dispensing the sacraments and preaching the Word of God. You have made an enormous contribution to our local communities and to our diocese as a whole. We are delighted you accepted our invitation to come here to St. Joseph’s this evening to accept our thanks to you yourselves and, through you, to honour your founders and the many heroic workers who have graced this diocese in the intervening years and sustained the faith in difficult times.

With typical personal commitment and determination Pope Francis moves on to his third aim for the year – to raise our eyes and chins skywards, remember the power of the grace of God and embrace the future with hope in the manner of the most courageous of our predecessors. The Holy Spirit can still do great things with us. He describes the consecrated life as a gift to the Church, a decisive element of the mission which expresses the deepest nature of the Christian Vocation.

Most spiritual writers tell us that at the core of our being we are longing to love and to be loved. At times we may look for love in the wrong places but the underlying search is the same. Augustine had first-hand experience of this and left us the great line “Our hearts are restless until they rest in you”. All of humanity may experience glimpses of this reality on our journey but we are created and oriented towards the one who can fulfil that longing. In our Scripture reading John assured us we are already the children of God – we were created so – but in the future we shall be like him because we shall see him as he really is.
A wise old Mother Superior was dying. The nuns gathered around her bed to make her comfortable. They gave her some warm milk to drink but she declined. Then one enterprising nun took the glass back to the kitchen. She remembered where there was still a bottle of whiskey which had been received as a gift the previous Christmas. She opened it and poured a generous helping into the warm milk. Back at Mother Superior’s bed she held the glass to her lips. Mother drank a little, then a little more and before they knew it she emptied the glass to the last drop. Seeing her so well revived and warm of cheek, one of the nuns asked her if she had anything to say to them before departing. Mother raised herself up in bed and wearing her nicest smile she pointed out the window and said “don’t sell that cow!”

So if you like the message simple and you want something to hang on the gate, how about, “we are not for turning, the bottle is not empty, there is still life there, the cow is not for sale!”

+Liam S. MacDaid

Bishop of Clogher

8 November 201

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