Religious Life as a Missionary of the Sacred Heart
Our way of life as Missionaries of the Sacred Heart is focussed first and foremost on living the religious life. What that means is not always easy to put into words. How do you sum up what it means to be married, single, a parent in sentences when it takes a life-time to plumb the depths of the joys and struggles that are part and parcel of the human story?
Let’s put it this way: imagine religious life is an adventure!!! The one who draws us into this adventure and invites us to risk the trip is God – who made us, wants the best for us and assures us we won’t be let down. It is God’s guiding hand that keeps us keeping on, even when, and especially when, the future is uncertain.
A community life
No adventure is pursued alone – we need others to share it. Living religious life means being part of a community because people need people. Living with and working with other members of the religious order provides company, support, encouragement, challenge, somebody to be accountable to, a sense of belonging, a shared dream and a shared story.
There may be only two or three in the same house, there may be over ten in the community or a person could even live/work solo but be attached to a community nearby with whom special times and ties are shared and celebrated.
Being part of one’s own family, circle of friends, the wider church and society all add to that sense of community. Nurturing these bonds of relationship is vitally important too!
Any adventure is focused on an aim or goal that drives us or spurs us on. For religious the heart is set clearly on living, expressing and pursing the Gospel values of justice, peace, truth, love, healing, forgiveness, and so forth.
Because all God’s people are called to do just that, what makes religious life distinctive is the values that lie behind our three vows: poverty, celibacy and obedience.
A vowed life
Much ink has been spilt on what these vows stand for. Writing or talking about them is useless unless we try to live them and allow them have hands, legs and a heart to put them into practice. Simply put, poverty entails how will we manage in the world of things, possessions, money and time? Obedience deals with the question of how we will live out our freedom, our choices, and our decisions. Celibacy brings us into the area of how we will live out our God-given ability to relate, to be warm human beings and how we will celebrate that greatest of gifts – our sexuality.