“I will speak to her heart” (Hosea 2:14)
In less than a month, seven sisters from the Province of the Immaculate Conception will profess our perpetual vows. The Mass of profession will take place in Washington, DC in the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on September 14th.
I find it hard to believe that this day is arriving so quickly! A fond memory of mine was the day I attended a friend’s first profession of vows. It was during that most solemn liturgy that the Holy Spirit shook my vocation into action. Upon hearing the sisters announce their desire to conform their hearts to His by an intimate consecration, my own heart was enlivened to do the same. In fact, it is to that liturgy that I have traced my own vocation. “I will never forget that day…it was World Mission Sunday…October 24th…” The words spoken by those religious were beautiful and saturated with meaning.
Despite the fact that many, myself included, emphasize the words spoken by the religious on the day of her perpetual profession, the words directly spoken to her seem to be of the greatest importance now that my profession date is quickly approaching. The words spoken by the religious are a mere groping (cf. Romans 8:26), trying to express realities that go beyond our words—total, free, forever—while the words spoken to her give life to her consecration, for they proceed from the very mouth of God (cf. Dt. 8:3; Mt. 4:4).
The words spoken to her are from her Good Father. The word of God takes a central place in our life as consecrated persons of our beloved Religious Family of the Incarnate Word—striving to prolong the Word in all possible ways. The Sacred Scriptures have nourished us daily in the Holy Mass, study and meditation; how great is our wealth, founded on the Word of God! During the Mass of profession, these words will take on a special significance. The exhortation of the Holy Spirit tells us, “Do not forget the works of the Lord (Psalm 78) that He emptied Himself and took the form of a slave (Phil 2:6) and that He did all of these things in order to draw all things to Himself” (John 3:13).
The words spoken to her are from the Word Incarnate, her Divine Spouse—“Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away” (Song of Songs 2:10). After our most valiant attempts to declare our love for God, we must admit that our best pales next to Him. The Eternal King will receive our ‘nothing’ with great tenderness; we will be admitted to dwell in His courts—even if it is just for one day (Cf. Ps. 84:10). We will rejoice that our littleness has been looked upon by Mercy and made worthy by such a glance!
The words spoken to her are from Holy Mother, the Church—“in the name of the Church…” My heart wells up with gratitude and joy when I think of the day when I will hear these solemn words of the Church confirming the great desire to give my entire life to Jesus. After many years of the vocation being put to the test, experiencing desolations, doubts or temptations, we will hear our sweet Mother have the final word—and when the Church speaks, her children ought to listen. We will lean into this confirmation throughout the rest of our religious lives because the Church speaks the truth.
The words spoken to her are from her Holy Mother, the Institute—“In the name of the Church and the Institute Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matará, I welcome with great joy these sisters with perpetual vows…” I will hear the name of my beloved Institute finally receive me into the plentitude of the charism and our spiritual patrimony. How many times have I heard these same words spoken to other sisters while I awaited my turn with joyful anticipation! With immense gratitude and humility, we will be received fully into the Religious Family.
Please pray that we can be spouses after His heart, consoling Him and growing in true spiritual maternity. Pray that we hear and believe what will be spoken to us (Romans 10:17).
!Viva la Congre!
Sister Mary Mother of Truth
Missionary—Harlem, New York