Silver jubilation

Congratulations - you're having a silver jubilee! was the delighted reaction of a colleague, when I told him that today would be the twenty-fifth anniversary of day I entered religious life. Alas, the Society only keeps official jubilees of vows, so no party or razzmatazz: but of course, that won't stop me from marking the day, and enjoying my own quiet celebration - and, by sharing my joy, inviting you all to join in.

What exactly am I celebrating? The answer has to be twenty-five years of God's steadfast, overwhelming love and fidelity, regardless of my fickleness; his patience and forgiveness, and copious gifts of grace. Twenty-five years of an ever-deepening journey into the pierced and open Heart of Jesus, and through him, into the heart of the world, with all its pain and beauty. Twenty-five years of a way of life which continues to give me fulfilment and joy - yes, even with bad days, setbacks and arid prayer - and which enables me to grow, in contemplation and service, and trying to love as abundantly as possible. And twenty-five years of not being or doing any of this alone: of the love, support and example of my sisters, and of being part of a community, a mission and a love much greater and more expansive than just me.

And my over-riding response to all this can only be immense gratitude - for ongoing fidelity and presence, and especially for the constantly unfolding mystery and gift of God's hundredfold. And mixed in with gratitude, there's awe and wonder, felt since the very beginning, at God's choice and call of this unlikeliest of future-nun material. Like Mary in her Magnificat I too can proclaim that the Almighty works marvels, for and in me...

The word jubilee derives from the Latin word for rejoicing, which, in turn, derived from the Hebrew word for the ram's horn used as a trumpet to proclaim a year of jubilee. So no official party, but plenty of reasons to rejoice; and plenty, too, to proclaim the fidelity, goodness and generosity of God, from whose fullness I continue to receive, more than I can ever give. This indeed is my hundredfold, and the cause of my jubilation: and this is the party to which I invite you, to share my joy and recognise, too, the many marvels God continues to work, in and for each of you.