Thursday, September 8, 2016

Reflections On An Anniversary

33 years ago I came to Our Lady's Society.  28 years ago today I professed my first vows.  My heart is full of gratitude especially to Our Lady, who came to find me in the darkness I lived in, and restore me to our Heavenly Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  Every good gift comes from the Father of lights.  His greatest gift is His only begotten Son Jesus.  My vocation of espousal with Jesus, comes from the Father, and is lived out in the Holy Spirit.  Who can really even speak of such profound things let alone consider themselves worthy.  Experientially I know well our Founder's insight into the way God works. He chooses the last, the lowest and the least.

28 years ago, Fr. Flanagan gave a homily at my First Profession Mass I remember to this day.  He said God told him to speak about light.  So he began by speaking about the light of the sun, the light of the moon and stars, and then he spoke about the light of faith, the light of our baptism, and the light that comes into the world when a child is born, the light of life.

He then said that there is a light that comes into the world in consecrated life.  And he said that light is like a laser beam.  He said they use laser beams now to heal people and the light that comes from our consecrated sisters in religious life is a light that God gives to heal his people.  And he said in professing the vows, the vows of poverty chastity and obedience, we become that kind of a light.  It was so beautiful.

I sometimes think of that light also as a kind of tracer in the night sky that shows people who are living in darkness the way to their heavenly homeland.  Saint Pope John Paul II said that the evangelical counsels are the most radical means for transforming the entire cosmos through the heart of man.  They help us to become like Jesus, the poor, chaste and obedient One.

The vows become a means to, and a witness of, the life that is to come.  And it is one of the reasons why religious life is not a sacrament.  Sacraments are helps for time.  They will not be necessary in eternity when we have the fullness of all we strive for here on earth.

St. Thomas Aquinas says that in religious profession God infuses the grace necessary to live as though we were already in eternity directly into the soul.  Which is not to say we don't need the other sacraments.  But we don't need one specific to this way of life. It is given directly at the moment of profession.

I will never be grateful enough for this calling and for the life Jesus has given me with Himself all these years.  At our first profession we are told we can ask Jesus for anything and He will give it to us.  So we all have our long lists of souls and intentions we confidently bring to Him.

I ask on this anniversary, His Priestly blessing on each of you and that He bestow every grace you need and He desires to give you, unto your salvation, sanctification and glory!  The psalms speak true when they say the Lord gives marvelous companions to us!  I'm grateful in the Lord for the gift you all are and I ask you to join me in thanking Him for His favor to me, undeserving as I am.

In the Heart of Our Blessed Mother,

Sr. Anne Marie