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Heart's ease - an infusion was said to help mend a broken heart

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

And opening their treasures...

On Saturday in Armagh, an Irish novice made her first vows in the Society. The greeting she gave at the beginning of the Mass is now on our website - in it, she gave a brief explanation of the meaning of the vows and the mission to which she was pledging herself. The vows I make, she said, will challenge me every day and I thank God for that, because they remind me to go beyond myself. With God's help and your prayers, I will grow in freedom, to live in God and for God, and become more open to the Spirit...

While Barbara was expressing her response to the Love which had called her, I was in London, at the final profession of vows of a friend in another congregation. She had opted for Epiphany readings for her Mass, and there is indeed so much in the story of the Magi which speaks of call and commitment: the journey and quest and tenacious, faith-filled following of a star... the bringing of gifts, all richly symbolic... the revelation of Christ... the undoubted change in their lives... It is an all-too familiar story, depicted in countless paintings and cribs, in which three Magi arrive, each one bearing a single, easily-identifiable gift, small and light enough to be effortlessly carried.

But on Saturday, what struck me about the Gospel was that it says Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts... No little boxes or jars here; no gifts carefully weighed and measured out, bringing only what was necessary, but whole chests and coffers, laden with treasure, poured out and offered with unmeasured generosity. And this, of course, has to be what lies at the heart of the commitment Barbara and Carolyn each so gladly expressed on Saturday: the treasure of her whole life and energy, her gifts, limitations, vulnerabilities and potential; the opening up and pouring out of her love, and her capacity to love more, and to keep loving.

And this offering of our every treasure and outpouring of our love is what we are all called to, not just the day we make our vows, but every day, as we seek to live them as fully as possible, and allow our hearts to be opened and expanded. Yes, we can hold back or measure out our gifts, but in the end, the "gain" is never as rewarding! This is the heart of the challenge of which Barbara spoke, and the source of our delight in responding. As Barbara said in her greeting, and the joy on Carolyn's face so evidently attested: My experience is that this is where I will grow in love of God and others. It is a beautiful life - a life to be recommended - lived in the love of God!

Please pray for Carolyn and Barbara, as they begin to live their vows and mission, for a deepening of Saturday's joy and generosity; and pray for all of us, too, that we may never cease to open and offer our treasure...

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