Eleven years ago today, in a sultry Roman heatwave, I and my companions made our perpetual profession of vows on the Feast of Corpus Christi. So when I realised that this year the feast would once again fall on the 22nd June, I did a little interior skip of delight! The anniversary is always special, but this is the first time (and may well be the last!) when it has coincided with the actual feast. And in this synchronicity there has been a special invitation to reflect again on the Gospel and homily from our ceremony.
As it was Corpus Christi we used the Gospel of the Feast - Mark's account of the Last Supper. At first glance it might seem a strange choice for a profession, where the Gospel is usually more obviously centred on call and response, but actually, as the homilist reminded us, it was perfect for what we were professing.
This is my body... said Jesus, this is my blood... offered, given up, poured out... and, we were reminded, this what we were effectively saying as we made our vows: This is me, all of me, my body, my life, my everything... handed over, to be poured out in love and service and nourishment...
We say religious are consecrated people, living consecrated life, and this, for me, is what our consecration, our commitment to God and God's world is all about. At Mass bread and wine are consecrated - made divine - not so that they can then be set apart, but so that they can be shared, given to those who hunger and thirst for their nourishment, as food and strength for the journey. And so it must be for us... This mystery of the body broken and the blood poured out today sends us to the world to be bread shared, the real presence of the love of God for others. (The Eucharistic Dimension of our Spirituality, General Chapter 1994)
It's good to be reminded of this at any time, but especially today, as I celebrate and renew my commitment to be the presence of the love of God for others. Please pray for me, for my eleven companions and for all RSCJ, that we may truly live our call and follow Jesus in proclaiming God's self-giving love with our lives.