Captivated by the Love of the Crucified Christ
Today is THE day...the day Sr. Mary Andrea will seal forever the covenant of her self-gift to Jesus her Bridegroom. I was going to take a photo of her this morning with the cake that Elizabeth beautifully decorated for her but she has those pre-wedding jitters! Hopefully she can get a little food in her stomach before the Mass begins at 1:30 this afternoon. Perhaps it was all the practice Thursday and Friday of lying under the black pall during the Litany of the Saints which will take place during the Mass of Religious Profession today. Sr. Rose Marie asked her yesterday as we were on our way to rake leaves if she had gotten enough practice being "mystically dead" yet. We got a good chuckle out of this. (Our Founder had the custom of using the words "mystical death" and "divine rebirth" to speak of the mystery of the death to self one must undergo to live for Christ - this is the symbolism of lying under the black pall during the Litany of the Saints.)
Preparing the grounds for the wedding day. Nuns are a bit odd...we even rake the leaves out of the trees!
In our monastery there is the custom of the Superior giving a ferverino the night before the wedding of the Lamb of God with his bride. Here is that beautiful meditation.
The Night before Sr. Mary Andrea’s Final Profession
During the first Holy Week, Jesus – the Bridegroom of the Church – was filled with the divine eagerness of God’s self-bestowing love. Yes, on the very eve of His bitter Passion and Death, when the hour of the marriage feast of the Lamb had at last arrived, the Divine Bridegroom said to his disciples: “I have greatly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.”
In these human words, (“I have greatly desired”), we hear the pulsations of the divine, eternal love, and the warmth of the truly human Heart of the God Man. In these limited human words, the Incarnate Eternal Word was trying to reveal something of the boundless love burning in His Sacred Heart for souls, for every soul. “I have greatly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.”
Down through the ages, Holy Mother Church has cherished, pondered and handed on these precious words that have lost none of their power to capture hearts and draw them to Himself.
Tonight, we have come to another eve – the night before another soul, captivated by the immense yearning of love in the Heart of the Crucified, is about to seal forever by her bridal gift of self in perpetual vows.
Yes, Sr. Mary Andrea, your Divine Bridegroom has greatly desired this day of your perpetual profession, this Passover that you will share with Him. Although you yourself, Sister, have greatly desired this day, and we have too, yet the greatest and most important desire we celebrate tomorrow, is the great desire of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, crucified and risen, for your soul.
His divine gaze has singled you out from among millions, has looked upon you with love, called you by name, and chosen you to belong totally to Him alone in Passionist consecration. The wonder of religious profession is that the Divine Bridegroom will bestow Himself completely upon you and receive from you the total gift of yourself in perpetual profession. And as a Passionist in this mutual self-giving love, you have been chosen to spend your life standing in spirit with His Mother beside His cross, participating as His helpmate in the work of human redemption. May you be a fruitful mother of souls, bringing as many as possible to His Heart, through the Heart of your Mother.
May you never forget that you are a bride who was “born” from the pierced Heart of your suffering Bridegroom on the cross. With this in mind, you will continue day by day, moment by moment, to live with Mary in the atmosphere of the inexhaustible mystery of the Passion, death and resurrection of Jesus.
So, on this eve of the wedding of the Lamb with your soul, make it your firm resolve to live your entire religious life at this great fountain from which you were born, allowing the saving blood and water ever flowing from His Heart to change your heart little by little, to overcome your faults and failings and transform you more and more in His likeness, so that He may use you more and more as a channel of grace for souls.
We entrust you to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary on this blessed night, dear Sister, and we pray that the great desire of the Heart of Jesus will be completely satisfied in your life and your soul, and that because of you, countless others will be saved and sanctified, as precious fruits and trophies of the Passion and Death of your Beloved.
And now, in reparation for any faults and failings you have committed during your religious life here among us, lovingly make 3 Offerings of the Precious Blood of your Divine Bridegroom to our Merciful Father. He is your treasure. Make use of His riches for the salvation of souls and for your own sanctification. God bless you, dear Sister, congratulations, and we love and will be praying for you and your family in a special way tomorrow!