Yes, I know I'm a day behind the world, but ice, snow, and bitter cold kept me from my computer.
When Pope John Paul II instituted a world day to celebrate the gift of Consecrated Life in the Church, I am grateful that he choose the Feast of the Presentation at the Temple to commemorate it. The feast is so rich in both symbol and tradition that support and enlighten our life in the Church.
This celebration of consecrating the infant Jesus to the service of the Temple is a wonderful reminder of my own consecration to the Church. At my final vows, the religious community witnessed my vows, the prioress received the vows, but the Church is the one that holds my vows in trust all of my life. Yes, yes, they are stored in the archives of my monastery; but they are promised to God and the Church. When students ask if I am "married to Jesus," I point out that the WHOLE CHURCH is Christ's Bride and that means everybody! My sisters and I are consecrated to the service of our Beloved in the Church.
The Feast of the Presentation is also a feast of light as we remember Christ as light of the world. The monastery follows in the tradition of blessing our candles for the chapel and places of prayer during this feast. However, I see this fitting our commemoration of Consecrated Life. We are supposed to be lights as well. Consecrated and set apart we should light the way for others. Not always the easiest call to fulfill, burning brightly on the lamp stand, but a needed role within the Church.
I am grateful for my life as a woman living the Consecrated Life as a Benedictine Sister. I am grateful for my community of sisters who help support me in the daily successes and struggles of our life together. And I am grateful for Pope Benedict XVI blessings and prayer for us yesterday.
O Mary Mother of the Church,
I entrust to you Consecrated Life,
So that you will obtain for it the fullness of Divine Light:
That it may live in listening to the Word of God,
In the humility of the following of Jesus Your Son and our Lord,
In the acceptance of the visit of the Holy Spirit,
In the daily joy of the Magnificat,
So that the Church is built by the holiness of life
Of these Your sons and daughters,
In the commandment of love,