In a pastoral letter published to mark the World Day of Consecrated Life on February 2, Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, Bishop Demetrio Fernandez of Tarazona, Spain, said the lack of radical commitment in consecrated life is one of the main causes of the vocations crisis.
“Christians are already consecrated through baptism, but the consecrated life is a new title of consecration that brings baptism to its fullness,” the bishop said. “Consecrated life is a prophetic cry in today’s world (and always), which reminds us what the definitive values of the Kingdom are, those that Christ lived out in the beatitudes and those that He invites others to live out when He calls someone to follow Him more closely.”
“We live in times of crisis in the consecrated life as well,” Bishop Fernandez underscored. “Secularization, that is, living as if God did not exist, adapting oneself to the opinions and ways of the world, has also filtered into the consecrated lifestyle.”
“It seems like a contradiction, but unfortunately this is the way it is. A consecrated life in which one is not willing to live a radical commitment to Jesus Christ, with a fanatical love like that of St. Paul, is a life that is not very attractive or exciting to the young people of today. This is one of the reasons for the lack of vocations,” the bishop stressed.
Bishop Fernandez acknowledged that the “issue of the scarcity or lack of vocations among young people is very complex and cannot be reduced to a single cause, but the institutes of consecrated life that live coherently ‘having lost everything for Jesus Christ’ are getting vocations.”
“On the other hand,” he added, “the institutes that have adapted to this world do not have vocations and are slowly dying out.”
“The World Day of Consecrated Life is an occasion to pray to the Lord for those who have consecrated their lives totally to the Lord, that they may be faithful to the first love that led them to leave everything for Jesus Christ,” Bishop Fernandez stated.