Message from the President of the National Conference of Major Superiors of Cameroon to the religious of Cameroon

                                                     The joy of the consecrated person

The joy of the consecrated person comes from the happiness of belonging to Chirst, since "Consecrated life, deeply rooted in the teaching of Christ the Lord, is a gift of God the Father to his Church through the Holy Spirit". (JPII, Vita Consecrata No. 1). To recognise that consecrated life is a gift of God is to admit that it is a crucible of joy, because the gift is by nature a source of joy for the giver as well as for the receiver. This allows us to affirm that every consecrated person is a beneficiary of the wonders of God. From these wonders, the consecrated person shares in God's joy through the gift of his or her person and is called, therefore, to become a source of joy for those with whom he or she shares humanity.

In fact, God who offers his joy is himself Joy, Beatitude and fullness of life. Thus the consecrated person, united to God the source of all true joy, becomes a witness of this joy through life and apostolate; this attests that God is with us.

However, the consecrated person indeed, has chosen to live his or her baptismal commitment in a radical way. This commitment is in itself a source of joy because it is irradiated by the joy of Easter. The preface of Easter says "the people of the baptised, radiant with paschal joy, exult throughout the earth", the consecrated persons that we are therefore recognise ourselves in this people and this paschal joy carries our hope. Moreover, this hope gives strength and determination to our fundamental option of being totally to Christ through the vows that we pronounce with joy, in a solemn and public way. Consequently, the consecrated person is fundamentally a vector of joy and takes up the invitation of Saint Paul to the Philipians who says: "Rejoice in the Lord without ceasing, I say again, rejoice" (Phil 4:4).

This joy that puts us in communion with the source of all joy must help us to open ourselves to the world in which we are called to live and witness. Let us therefore be realistic and recognise that this joy is not the fruit of carelessness but rather the pure product of the theological virtues of faith, charity and hope. These virtues nourish, in principle, our vows of religion (obedience, poverty and chastity) and dispose us spiritually and humanly to witness with prophetic boldness. So, dear consecrated persons, may this day dedicated to us be an opportunity to rediscover the beauty of the choices we have made for greater happiness and seriousness in our commitment. 

Praying for each one of you, I wish you a beautiful day of consecrated life and may Mary our Mother, guardian of consecrated life, help us to rediscover our vocation to witness to our joy of belonging to Christ. 

       The President of the NCMSC                                                     

P. Ferdinand OWONO NDIH, omi