We have just participated in one of the most beautiful days in the life of a religious: the wedding of the bride with Christ! Sr. Jackie Jean-Marie and Sr. Laura Fidelis, you are now espoused to Christ! It’s an espousal that merely begins now, grows deeper and more meaningful with the passage of time and then reaches its fullness when we cross the threshold of this life into eternal life. There is no, “until death do us part” in religious profession because there is no parting at death! What begins today goes on forever and only gets better as long as we/you keep giving yourselves in love.
The joy of profession day is the joy of belonging to Jesus Christ. “I have called you by name: you are mine.” Why? You ask. How have I deserved this great outpouring of love? St. Paul sets the record straight; he doesn’t let us become proud. No one “deserves” a vocation. It’s an incomprehensible and free gift. God chooses the weak, he says, those who are nothing… And while St. Paul is certainly right, listen to God’s own answer to the same question: Why? “Because you are precious in my eyes and because I love you!” Is there a better answer?! “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you,” Jesus insists: a choice made out of love.
Yes, this day is about love: self-giving love, joyful love, everlasting love. …But also reciprocal love. It’s the one thing necessary. Love is the flame that feeds the mission; it’s the passion that lets us consume ourselves for Christ and for others, the lymph that energizes us, and the gentle breath that fills our hearts, minds and bodies, quieting us for the intimacies and the loving instructions of Jesus.
Sr. Laura Fidelis and Sr. Jackie Jean-Marie, you have been espoused to Jesus, who promises to remain with you forever. He asks only that you remain with Him. Remain with Him not only in those precious times of prayer, but remain with Him in the service of your sisters and in the work of evangelization. Remain with Him in busyness as well as in rest. “Let His Word dwell in you richly,” as St. Paul urges. May His Word and His Eucharistic body and blood nourish and restore you daily. May His Spirit flow through you to others.
I wish you an ever deeper experience of God’s love, the joy that comes from belonging unconditionally to Him in poverty, chastity and obedience, the capacity to share this joy and this love with everyone in our Pauline Mission of evangelization through the media. May you witness to Christ and His love, knowing you are precious in God’s eyes and that He loves you. Jesus chooses you every day anew. May you, too, choose Him every day, until that day when He Himself, Jesus Christ, will come to call you to the eternal wedding feast.
May God bless you, bless your parents, your siblings, your relatives, nieces, nephews, godchildren, bless your extended family and friends, bless all here present. Thank you.