Our parish priest and a large crowd of local religious and laity joined us this evening for an Hour’s prayer before sung Vespers – we are happy to share with our readers the opening reflection.As we gather on this first Sunday of Advent and begin this special Year for Consecrated Life, let us pause for a moment to become aware of the One in Whose Presence we are – the One who has called us by name and Who continues to call day by day.   Let us remember that we are united with a countless number of brothers and sisters throughout the Church in every part of the world who are also reflecting on and celebrating the same realities as we are – we remember those women and men who live the consecrated life in its various forms and in different cultures.  We remember in particular those who are being persecuted for their faith and who cannot celebrate in public – those who are feeling forgotten and losing hope. In his letter for this Year of Consecrated Life, published yesterday, Pope Francis set before us three aims:1.     look to the past with gratitude2.     live the present with passion3.     embrace the future with hopeFirst and foremost, consecrated life is God’s gift to His Church for which we must give thanks.  St John Paul II described consecrated life as a “radical gift of self for love of the Lord Jesus and of the whole human family.” (cf VC 3).  But our gift of ourselves is only a response to the gift of the One who has first loved us, the light of whose face has shone on us and chose us to be His instruments. It […]