Men and women enter into consecrated vocations to show, in a special and necessary way, their love of God by giving themselves in service to mankind.
There are many different forms of consecrated life, such as religious brothers and sisters, and apostolic celibates. The consecrated life is a special state to which our Lord God calls some people. Like all states of Christian life, the consecrated life is a way to perfection. The seeds of this special vocation are found in the Gospels where Jesus speaks of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Those who enter the consecrated life accept what are called the “evangelical counsels” of poverty, chastity, and obedience. They bind themselves to these counsels by public or private vows. Besides the profession of these three vows, the observance of a rule of common life is an essential aspect of the consecrated life.
Perfect love of God is the aim and ideal of the consecrated state. This state is a permanent condition of life officially recognized as such by the Church wherein a person binds him or herself to strive after perfection.
The perfection of Christian life essentially consists in love–first and foremost in the love of God, then in the love of neighbor. The consecrated life is to be one continuous act of love in the service of God and the Church. Hence, consecrated vocations are important to humanity and to the Church.