To be properly defined as religious a person has to publicly profess the evangelical counsels poverty, chastity, and obedience as a way of life consecrated to God. Certainly all Christians are called to be religious, which is to live out their faith in the way that God tells them to. But in addition, religious is the most familiar term for brothers, sisters, and priests of the catholic church who offer a way of life for those called to profess the evangelical counsels.
That statement was made long before our time, back when it was all a tradition. During the beginning of the Catholic Church there was a law that you can t just be baptized and go to church to be a proper catholic, you had to profess the word, live the catholic life, and be what you preach. But that has changed drastically and now anybody that has been baptized can claim they are catholic and they are right to think it. Look at all three of us up and we are prime examples of it. We ve all been baptized but we rarely go to church, yet we are classified as Catholics. This goes to show how Catholicism is changing, but is it changing for the better?
It I becoming evident year after year that there are less attending mass. This could be that the church hasn t changed enough, it s still as boring as ever, but that could just be a view based on the fact that I m young and I might not know everything that is going on during a mass. A boring mass wasn t a bad thing centuries ago because the world was much different, but things are supposed to change with the times to be accepted in society. Unfortunately, the church doesn t see it this way. I can understand why it can be vital for the church to stick to it s roots and profess the word of God no matter how boring it is, but isn t there way to make it more interesting and appeal to a broader audience then the elderly?
The Church sees religious life as a certain human need. It gives a person faith and hope, something that can be important in somebody s life. Religious communities are formed to give this need and much more to people. One of the communities is The Missionaries of Charity , founded by Mother Teresa of Calcutta. This community not only gives faith and hope, but also shelter for those who are dying and care for the homeless and poor people.
All Christians are called to love God and their neighbors; all Christians married, single, religious, and ordained are called to practice chastity. This subject is something that Catholic Church takes seriously. In religious life, the vow of chastity has a particular meaning. It s a promise to love in a way that frees the religious sister, brother, or priest to respond to all of humankind, especially those people in need. This vow includes the pledge to be celibate, to abstain from genital sexual behavior, which is proper to marriage. However, the meaning of the vow goes beyond this limited sense of abstaining, it s a choice to love other people while free of the single commitment to one particular person. Married couples, on the other hand, must be committed first and foremost to love each other and their children.
Religious life isn t about tradition anymore, it s changed to fit the needs of today, but the church is built on tradition and it s not going to change anytime soon. Religious life might be hard at times but you should never be embarrassed about it. Faith is a wonderful thing.