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Message from the 2023 Consecrated Life Day

+May God be praised throughout the universe! Respected, all consecrated people of this land! The people of the world think of us as people of God who have been called by the Lord. As a man of God, where should I focus my life more this year? A few years ago, a professor at Harvard University in the United States said that the most important quality to prepare for a great future life is “kindness.” Even though people can never live alone, because of lack of kindness, they only compete with each other, wars between countries, and communities are divided due to selfishness, and society is breaking harmony. Therefore, only kind people can lead changes in the future society and become leaders.

Recently, Dr. Kelly Harding, professor of psychiatry at Columbia Medical School, USA, told a similar story. According to her, how we treat each other is the essence of health problems, and when people feel unsupported and threatened, they experience burnout. It is said that a good boss is more important to health than a good doctor, and that people who meet a bad boss are 3 to 6 times more likely to die suddenly from heart disease. Just hugging each other every day as a family reduces the risk of catching a cold by 32%, and plants and animals raised by kind people get much less sick. Every comforting touch plays an important role in life, and it is said that everything from a pat on the shoulder from a friend to a hug, a handshake, and a hairdresser's haircut can lower your chances of getting sick.

If these parents affectionately look their children in the eyes, watch them closely, continue to talk to their children in a state where they have stopped talking to them, and occasionally pinch their children and hold them tightly, then there is a problem with the condition or there is a problem with acquired changes, and it will definitely overcome it. and the child must grow into a different person. Would only a child make these changes?

Jean Valjean, the protagonist of Victor Hugo's novel Les Misérables, has his life completely changed by a kind priest, right? Kindness has the power to heal diseases and change people, but what about people around us? If we look back for a moment, we can quickly realize what a cold and unkind world we live in. A grandfather who was hospitalized at a hospital waited for his children to visit him, but when no one came, he called his daughter who had moved and asked for the address. If you know the address you moved to, would you try to find it? I can't teach you,” and hung up the phone. It is said that the grandfather wailed loudly because of how sad he was. If children are so unkind to their parents, what use is it if they live well only materially? Parents have nothing but the ‘pleasure’ of seeing their children.

Another time I visited a Buddhist missionary school in the city with foreign guests. It is a four-story building, and on each floor, Buddhists lay comfortably, and everyone was healing in their own way, listening to the monk's discourse on the monitor, chatting, and eating food. Then, when the great monk came out to meet the believers with his disciples, all the believers gathered, took pictures, and made a fuss. At that time, I thought, ‘The priests are treated very well in Buddhism’. A few days later, when I told this story to an elder nun who was very close to the monks, he explained that it was not priestly treatment, and that believers followed monks like fathers because they were really comfortable with them and liked them. This is not to get close. So that part needs to be fixed.

That's right. The church isn't that warm either. There is a time when young people from several religious orders experience alms-balancing during the training period. At this time, when they go around and ask for food, temples are most generous, followed by Protestant churches, but they are often kicked out of Catholic churches. It's strange when a church with clergy and religious who always shouts out God's love is like this! If society is cold, we, consecrated people, must warm it up. We consecrated people are God's people. We are the people that anyone in the world can easily approach, regardless of religion or not. We don't ask for anything from people, we just give God's love. That love is transmitted through our kindness.

You can kindly greet everyone you meet with warm words and offer sincere words of comfort to those who are tired of illness or loneliness. Even the very wealthy and rich may not hesitate to approach and ask for alms to be given to the poor. Because we are God's people, we can approach anyone without fear. If you are a monk of the Blockade Monastery, you can fervently offer kind prayers so that the people of the world may feel God's love. Kindness comes not from our strength, but from the power of the Lord who called us. Young and healthy, old and sick, in the strength of the Lord we can always be kind to all. I sincerely pray that this year 2023 will be a year in which God's kindness is freely given to everyone, and I ask for blessings from all the kind bishops of this land. On February 2, 2023, the Day of Consecrated Life Korea Men's Religious Society, President of the Council of Superiors of the Apostolic Life Group + Yoo Deok-hyeon James Abba


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