The vocation of Consecrated Virginity lived in the world as part of consecrated life in the Church
The vocation of Consecrated Virginity lived in the world
as part of consecrated life in the Church
As discussed in Vita Consecrata, the vocation of Consecrated Virginity Lived in the World is not a clerical or lay state of life, but a distinct form of Consecrated Life in the Church. Other forms of Consecrated Life include monastic life in the East and in the West, contemplative religious, apostolic institutes, diocesan hermits, secular institutes, and societies of apostolic life.
The mission of all those living Consecrated Life stems from the words of Jesus in Matthew 19, in which he acknowledges that some will choose not to marry for the sake of the kingdom of heaven, and encourages anyone who can to accept this particular gift from God. Each form of Consecrated Life radiates, in its distinctive way, a witness to the resurrected life to come. In the Gospel of Mark (12:25), Jesus observes: "When they rise from the dead they neither marry nor are given in marriage." Based on these words of Jesus, the Church explains that those who choose virginity or celibacy now for the sake of the kingdom of heaven begin to live on earth the life that will be lived by all in the future resurrection. These men and women stand as a sign of and witness to the resurrected life to come, the union with God that is the telos (intended end) of all souls.
The distinctions among the various forms of Consecrated Life are important, especially for one discerning a call to consecrated life. A form might be characterized by its relation to the world, by whether it is lived in community or individually, and by whether it is more active or more contemplative.
(The above was adapted from, The Vocation Tree Guidebook, ©2010, pages 18-19, The Vocation Tree, Inc.)
Click here for a visual presentation and further discussion of the various forms of consecrated life.