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The Profession of Faith

243

to live in the respective states of virginity or perpetual chastity “for

the sake of the Kingdom of heaven.”

463

923

“Virgins who, committed to the holy plan of following

Christ more closely, are consecrated to God by the diocesan bishop

according to the approved liturgical rite, are betrothed mystically

to Christ, the Son of God, and are dedicated to the service of the

Church.”

464

By this solemn rite (

Consecratio Virginum

), the virgin is

“constituted . . . a sacred person, a transcendent sign of the Church’s

love for Christ, and an eschatological image of this heavenly Bride

of Christ and of the life to come.”

465

924

“As with other forms of consecrated life,” the order of

virgins establishes the woman living in the world (or the nun) in

prayer, penance, service of her brethren, and apostolic activity,

according to the state of life and spiritual gifts given to her.

466

Consecrated virgins can form themselves into associations to ob-

serve their commitment more faithfully.

467

Religious life

925

Religious life was born in the East during the first centuries

of Christianity. Lived within institutes canonically erected by the

Church, it is distinguished from other forms of consecrated life by

its liturgical character, public profession of the evangelical coun-

sels, fraternal life led in common, and witness given to the union

of Christ with the Church.

468

926

Religious life derives from the mystery of the Church. It is

a gift she has received from her Lord, a gift she offers as a stable

way of life to the faithful called by God to profess the counsels.

Thus, the Church can both show forth Christ and acknowledge

herself to be the Savior’s bride. Religious life in its various forms is

called to signify the very charity of God in the language of our time.

927

All religious, whether exempt or not, take their place

among the collaborators of the diocesan bishop in his pastoral

duty.

469

From the outset of the work of evangelization, the mission­

ary “planting” and expansion of the Church require the presence

463

Mt

19:12.

464 CIC, can. 604 § 1.

465

Ordo Consecrationis Virginum, Praenotanda

1.

466 Cf. CIC, can. 604 § 1;

OCV Praenotanda

2.

467 Cf. CIC, can. 604 § 2.

468 Cf. CIC, cann. 607; 573;

UR

15.

469 Cf.

CD

33-35; CIC, can. 591.

1537

1672

1672

796

854