Saturday, June 2, 2012

Forever the Spouse of Christ

 A reflection given by Mother Maria-Michael Newe, on the morning of the solemn profession (final vows) of two of our sisters, May 31, 2012.


Sr. Maria-Gertrude and Sr. Lioba with their
profession candles, after they made their
final vows.
 In a special way I greet our two sisters this morning. Happily we greet this morn-- the wedding feast of the Lamb. Together, over the years, we have discerned that you truly seek God, are zealous for the work of God, for obedience, and you have embraced many a humiliation… and yet you are here today at this very moment, in which we are going to witness together your giving of yourselves to God. In other words, you have embraced the very heart of what John the Baptist has said, “He must increase, I must decrease.” If a nun's deaths do not make her more alive to God, she is still living in the Old Testament, she will not be very good news to the world; but you are good news to the world. You have embraced the Paschal Mystery that is so evident in all of our lives.

As Mary kept vigil with her Son throughout His life, so I must tell you, she will keep vigil with you in your lives. She was a witness to the Cross and the Resurrection and she is also a witness to the truth of the words, “I am with you always.” He will never, ever be unfaithful, for He is faithfulness itself. And as the apostles were called to be witnesses of the Resurrection, so too are we to be the witnesses of the Resurrection in one another.

Today, as your prostrate yourselves before the Altar, before the presence of all the angels and saints, and before us, your humble sisters, we will witness, in truth, a dying and a rising, a great rising. You will sing the Suscipe three times. You will go down into the depths with Him and rise to the resurrection. Today, in the oratory, we will witness what St. Benedict says in his rule, “Let him who is to be received make in the oratory, in the presence of all, a promise [a vow!] of stability, conversion of manners and obedience before God and his saints. This petition is to be written in his own hand.” You have written this petition in your own hand. You have chosen to follow Him who has called you in a special way. Each one of us who has made solemn profession has been called and has experienced this moment; and we experience it with you again and we remember how important it is that we prefer nothing to the Love of Christ, that we embrace His every moment, and that we are ready each morning to rise and to sing to greet Him, for it is He who carries us through the day. We encourage one another in faith, hope, and charity. Charity is to be the ultimate goal of the monastic life. Everything we do should point to the love of God; for there is nothing greater than that.

Today we are embracing two new sisters who will be with us unto eternity. We carry you in our hearts. We promise, in turn, to love, serve,and honor you. And you are called to love, serve, and honor Christ, in your sisters; to love your Abbess and to hear the voice of Christ in hers for you. In faith you are choosing to live this life in an enclosed monastery, you are taking vows: stability, conversion, and obedience. They’re REAL. And you are called to become holy in these vows. Be faithful. 

 Let each of us today, carry one another in faith. And, sisters, just as we witness today your solemn profession, so too will we witness the day in which your last 'Amen' is spoken and your Spouse says, “Come my beloved, my dove, my beautiful one.” Whether we’re in heaven or on earth, we will witness that day with you. In one way or another, we will embrace you in Christ; and that embrace begins today. So we rejoice with you. I pray very sincerely that this day is the beginning and will never end. You are forever the Spouse of Christ.