Religious gather for Mass at Church of St Mary of the Angels on Feb 1 to celebrate the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life
The living example and identity as Religious make them “the story of Jesus” to the lay faithful who are seeking out “authentic religion” in “an atmosphere of relativism” where “morality is no longer a concern”, said Singapore Pastoral Institute’s Director Arthur Goh.
Mr Goh was addressing some 200 Religious men and women at a talk to mark the World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life on Feb 1.
“You don’t preach with words … you preach with life choices,” Mr Goh said.
The lay people can learn from the Religious on recognising one’s charism, committing one’s life and deciding on one life’s based on understanding the charism, he continued.
Religious can share and impart the lay faithful important life skills such as living in a community as Christians – accepting and putting up with the different personalities, bearing forgiveness and reconciliation to one another, he added.
He urged the Religious to befriend the lay people, and not to estrange their lives from the faithful as “ethereal, angelic beings that cannot be touched or emulated”.
The fidelity of the Religious in Christ is an example to the lay faithful where “the wonderful story of Jesus” is told through the Religious’ eyes, and where the Religious can show the lay faithful a clear path to the Kingdom of God in “full humanity, full community in submission to God”, Mr Goh concluded.
Later at a Mass at Church of St Mary of the Angels, Jesuit Fr Colin Tan reminded the Religious to recognise their mission and identity and to be gifts to the Christian community.
Franciscan Missionaries of Mary Sr Danielle Pang who will make her final profession in March said that “lay people and Religious are one” and the Religious can be an example to the lay people in how the Religious live as a form of Christ’s presence and love in the midst of the lay faithful.
She aspires to be “the ear for the people, the eyes of people … being with the people in the life of the people”.
Jesuit novice Br Stanley Goh said being an example to the lay people is “to imitate Christ in however difficult it may be”, firstly to know Christ and to exercise a life of humility in dealing with others.
By Darren Boon