Religious life is the joy of total commitment to Christ and bears witness to the striving of the whole Church toward union with the Divine Spouse. St. John Paul II writes, "We should never forget that consecrated life, before being a commitment of men and women, is a gift which comes from on high, an initiative of the Father "who draws his creatures to himself with a special love and for a special mission" (VC 17). This look of special love profoundly touches the heart of the one called, who is urged by the Holy Spirit to place himself or herself in the footsteps of Christ, in a particular way of following him, by means of assuming the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty, and obedience. A stupendous gift!"
A precious, indeed invaluable, element of our life of striving for union with Jesus through Mary is our daily practice of spiritual reading. As our bodies require daily nourishment to fuel the day's service, so our intellects require daily doses of stimulating (and even challenging) material paired with reflection to strengthen our loving will and inspire the heart in its seeking for and conversing with Christ.
O God, in whose Passion, according to the prophecy of Simeon, a sword of sorrow pierced the most sweet soul of the glorious Mary, Mother and Virgin: grant in thy mercy, that we who call to mind her sorrows with veneration, may obtain the happy effect of thy Passion.
O Mary in thy Nativity, pray for us who desire to imitate thee!
"If thou wouldst be perfect, go sell all that you have, and come follow me."