The Garden of Carmel – The life of Christ lived in the Holy Spirit – Carmel is a microcosm of the Body of Christ. A place of blessings – a place of God’s grace and the Community’s response – a call, in the Body of Christ, to contemplation and prayer. You, Marian, do and will continue, with this deep commitment and promise, to live this life of Carmel, this vocation, in the funny, busy, good and sinful world we live in, not in the monastery, but in your own setting and life and world. All the riches of the Lord, the Sacraments, the Prayer of the Church, the strong association with the Sisters and the monastery… the riches of the Lord’s garden will remain yours but your Carmelite life will have its own difficulties – as I am sure you know already. How do you continue to allow this life, this call, to take deeper and deeper root in your life, in all the ordinariness and challenges of your family and circumstances?
The big answer of course is in the Gospel today – this famous passage where Jesus talks of what we call the Beatitudes. These are not so much things we should do. They are more what our lives will look like as we follow our Saviour, as we walk in his love.
So, Lord, how do we show these fruits, these flowers from your garden? How do we grow in holiness, how do we become love as you are love?
First, let’s remind ourselves with great confidence and joy – the Lord is our Shepherd. The Good Shepherd. The Lord is leading us. He is for us. He is the shepherd; He is GOOD. This is where we start.
Secondly, with his leading, his grace, his soil, his planting, nurturing and the watering he has done, and will do, our task is simply to continue to respond. Here again is what St Paul writes to his beloved Philippian converts. Is there any better way of saying it?
This is the way of holiness; this is the secret of growth in the Holy Spirit. You, Marian, you, dear Sisters, and all of us here, let us plunge in again to the little way, the way that is sometimes painful, that necessarily includes the Cross of our Shepherd, and let us set our sights on him who loves us so much.
We thank God that you have heard the call of the Lord, Marian, and will make these final promises today. May the Lord richly bless you.