On 2nd February 1960, I made my first vows as A Redemptorist. It was the feast of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple and it was a very meaningful celebration for me as I presented myself to Jesus to be his disciple, as a Redemptorist. I know it was He who called and chose me, even though I was unworthy. I was midway between 22 and 23 at the time. I had one year of Novitiate where we spent much time in silence, prayer and reflection on the meaning of this call. This was a moment of grace and a new beginning in my life through the vows of evangelical poverty, consecrated chastity and serving obedience. These vows were not impositions curtailing my desires for possessions, sexual gratification or following my own will. They were God's gift setting me free to live the Gospel.
The years have gone by and I live in a world where I am continually enticed by values contrary to the Gospel to seek my own comfort, to follow my own desires, to gratify my appetites and to possess more than I need. I can easily argue that I am leading a Religious life and am involved in many good works. But am I really giving myself to Jesus everyday unconditionally to represent him and his saving love to those he sends me to?
That is the meaning of this mystery of the Rosary. Each one of us is called by God to be his disciple. Simeon and Anna were old people who longed to see the Messiah and had spent years in prayer and expectation. Their faith was rewarded when Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the Temple. Read about it in Luke 2 verses 22 to 38.
Simeon was "led by the Spirit" who had been with him and assured him that he would see the Messiah before he died. We too need to allow the Spirit of Jesus to lead and guide us everyday in our search for Jesus. He will lead us each day into his saving presence to see and experience Jesus as our Savior and Lord of our lives. Anna gave thanks to God and spoke about Jesus to all who were waiting for God to set Jerusalem free. We too cannot keep the good news locked up in our hearts but need to share it with all those who are searching for freedom in their lives. Believe me there are so many who are shackled and longing for the freedom that Jesus alone can give them.
Mary was the one who obtained for me my Vocation and protected me for the six years after I finished school. It was she who led me into the harbour of God's love after three years at sea. I know she will be there always praying for us sinners now and at the hour of our death to lead us finally into Heaven to see God face to face. Her husband Joseph is the patron of a happy death and our protector against sin.
May we all be renewed in our baptismal promises to live as Evangelizers of the good news of salvation.