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Reflections on Religious Life in our Contemporary Times

1. Consecrated persons therefore must keep themselves as intellectually open and as adaptable as possible, so that the apostolate will be envisaged and carried out according to the needs of their own time, making use of the means provided by cultural progress. (Vita Consecrata #71) 2. I hope that reflection will continue and lead to a deeper understanding of the great gift of the consecrated life in its three aspects of consecration, communion, and mission. (Pope John Paul II) 3. Religious Life must be about seeing what others do not see or saying what others may not say, for whatever reason, at whatever price. Religious must be about the great questions of life. (Joan Chittister) 4. Authority functions best when it brings direction and unity to a group, when it raises questions that the group needs to face. (Joan Chittister) 5. Nothing from the past is secure. Nothing in the future is clear. Risk is the new asceticism of Religious Life. (Joan Chittister) 6. To live a religious life today takes all the life we have. To live a religious life takes the heart of a hermit, the soul of a mountain climber, the eyes of a lover, the hands of a healer, and the mind of a rabbi. It requires total immersion in the life of Christ and complete consecration on the meaning of the Gospel life today. (Joan Chittister) 7. This is the moment when we need leaders to call one another and call our communities to heroism: to call us to risk, entering into those conflictual conversations that will connect us in trust and in hope to one anotherto help us to face together the different, the other, the frightening and the unexpected. (Donna J. Markham) 8. The process of spiritual growth is one of deconstructing this childish God-image and moving into an adult relationship with the transcending immanent Holy Mystery, who is both the ground of all being and utterly beyond our imagining, our language and our control. (Sandra Schneiders) 9. Contemporary Religious Life is just now emerging from a period that has been both blessed and burdensome. Those of us who are its members continue to face some formidable and complex challenges. The work that lies ahead will require of us open minds, a willingness to surrender divisive ideological points of view, and a great deal of sacrifice. (Sean D. Sammon) 10. Many in the West have not yet come to terms with the idea that the center of Catholicism is shifting now to Asia and the developing world, and that the future world Church will not be dominated by Western nations but will be pre-dominantly nonwhite, a coalition and mixture of many nations and cultures. (Archbishop Rembert Weakland)