Written June 23, 2010
This evening on the vigil of the feast of St. John the Baptist and the 51st anniversary of my monastic profession, I sat down at my little altar in my bedroom (which also might be considered my monk cell) and listened for a long spell. Or, I guess you might say: I kept vigil. I love Vigils. They call me to stand before those things that were and are sacred. To symbolically stand before the mystery of my 51 years as a monastic was a very special prayer.
I am not so sure I knew what I was doing 51 years ago. Today as I prepare to renew my promises/vows I have a much clearer picture of why I am here although I must say that I still lack full understanding.
On the Vigil of my 51st anniversary I prayed with one of my favorite passages from the Rule of St. Benedict, Chapter 72: On the Good Zeal of Monks. I am quoting a bit of this passage for your own reflection because the message is very obviously one that could speak to you in whatever way of life you have chosen.
“…This, then, is the good zeal which monks must foster with fervent love; “They should each try to be the first to show respect to the other." (Rom12:10) supporting with the greatest patience one another’s weaknesses of body or behavior, and earnestly competing in obedience to one another. …and let them prefer nothing whatever to Christ.”
June 24, 2010
My anniversary was made even more special this year by the fact that Sister Cecelia Marie made her final profession today. As I was praying with the word “final” in regard to my own monastic life I found myself smiling with a kind of new enlightenment. I know what final is supposed to mean.; I have pondered often on the promise of stability in the monastic way of life and am aware of the possibility of finding God wherever I am. I do not have to get on a jet plane to find Christ in some foreign place (although that could at times be a true call). In a world that finds stability difficult I choose stability.
But today I also was given the insight that nothing is final, not even monastic promises. Every morning I must renew my vows again. Every morning I discover new ways to say, “Yes.” Every morning I stand before the mystery of my “Suscipe” and renovate my way of being obedient to Christ in this community. Every day I renovate my heart.