The Profession of Faith
wonderfully in her. And so the first mission of those who profess
the evangelical counsels is to live out their consecration. Moreover,
“since members of institutes of consecrated life dedicate them-
selves through their consecration to the service of the Church they
are obliged in a special manner to engage in missionary work, in
accord with the character of the institute.”
In the Church, which is like the sacrament—the sign and
instrument—of God’s own life, the consecrated life is seen as a special
sign of the mystery of redemption. To follow and imitate Christ more
nearly and to manifest more clearly his self-emptying is to be more
deeplypresent to one’s contemporaries, in the heart of Christ. For those
who are on this “narrower” path encourage their brethren by their
example, and bear striking witness “that the world cannot be transfig-
ured and offered to God without the spirit of the Beatitudes.”
Whether their witness is public, as in the religious state, or
less public, or even secret, Christ’s coming remains for all those
consecrated both the origin and rising sun of their life:
For the People of God has here no lasting city, . . . [and this
state] reveals more clearly to all believers the heavenly goods
which are already present in this age, witnessing to the new
and eternal life which we have acquired through the re-
demptive work of Christ and preluding our future resurrec-
tion and the glory of the heavenly kingdom.
“Among the Christian faithful by divine institution
there exist in the Church sacredministers, who are also
called clerics in law, and other Christian faithful who
are also called laity.” In both groups there are those
Christian faithful who, professing the evangelical
counsels, are consecrated to God and so serve the
Church’s saving mission (cf. CIC, can. 207 § 1, 2).
To proclaim the faith and to plant his reign, Christ
sends his apostles and their successors. He gives them
a share in his own mission. From him they receive the
power to act in his person.
The Lord made St. Peter the visible foundation of his
Church. He entrusted the keys of the Church to him. The
476 CIC, can. 783; cf.
31 § 2.
44 § 3.