“To live through love in his presence” Perpetual Profession of Vows Mother Mary Therese

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Home > Archbishop > Homilies > “To live through love in his presence” Perpetual Profession of Vows Mother Mary Therese

On the cover of the December 2015 edition of the National Geographic magazine is an image of the Virgin Mary. It indicates the subject of the lead story for the Christmas edition, “Mary, the most powerful woman in the world”.

The article reflects a worldwide investigation by the author Maureen Orth on the impact of the Virgin Mary on the lives of millions of people.

The article captures a truth which we Catholics can take for granted – that the Blessed Virgin Mary continues to be a powerful instrument of God in the lives of people across the world.

Mother Mary Therese would readily attest to the role that the Virgin Mary has played in her conversion to the faith, in her apostolic works and in her calling to consecrate herself to the Lord.

The name of the congregation, Sisters of the Immaculata, express the centrality of the Virgin in the lives of the sisters. Of course this day, December 8, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, is the principal feast for the Sisters of the Immaculata.

In honouring the virgin, the readings of this Mass centre on her role in God’s plan for the salvation of the human race, following the sin of Adam and Eve. The Original Sin initiated by Eve would be righted by the action of God initiated by the “fait’ of the virgin. The willfulness of Eve in listening to the serpent and disobeying God’s command is corrected by the trusting obedience of Mary of Nazareth who said without hesitation, “be it done to me according to your word”.

God’s work of salvation is set in motion through the humble surrender of our Lady. The Virgin Mary in her trust and complete openness to God's will is intimately involved with the saving work of God.

There is a powerful truth here. Souls given over to God in complete surrender and trust become pure and powerful instruments of his saving work. Mary herself was the perfect instrument because she, as specially chosen among all women, was conceived immaculately. Her personal purity made her the perfect vehicle for conceiving the Son of God.

This is the underlying spirit of the Sisters of the Immaculata. Their own pursuit of holiness and purity of mind and heart enable them to be conduits of God’s saving grace.

There is a further dimension to the role of the Virgin Mary in the life of believers. It is captured in the title given her in the second part of the Hail Mary. Our petition to her is “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners”. The holy Mary is Mother of God – Theotokos – and has become our mother too. 

Christians who honour the Virgin Mary know her primarily as mother. It is in the role of mother that she has visited individuals, some in most powerful and dramatic ways like Lourdes and Fatima, some in very personal and individual ways. Her visits are those of a mother who longs to care for her spiritual children. She has come to guide and advise. She has come to warn and correct. She has come to comfort and encourage. She has been primarily a mother solicitous for her children.

This is how we know her. The young virgin who said yes to God became a mother and subsequently became our mother. This feast today enables us to honour Mary as the Immaculate one, chosen by God and destined to be   Mother of God.

Mother Mary Therese, you have chosen this day to make the perpetual profession of your vows to live religious life in the Sisters of the Immaculata. You have come to this point where you desire to give over all unhesitatingly to God under the patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This marks a final stage of a journey of faith whereby you have been called further and further into a complete offering of yourself to God. With this act of perpetual profession of the vows you unhesitatingly offer your entire future to be a religious sister under the charism of the Immaculata Sisters.  

You have lived the emerging charism of the sisters and have felt a confirmation that this is where the Lord wants you to be. You have come to know that this is the path chosen for you. You embrace it and today confirm that this is your path now for the rest of your life.

You freely embrace poverty, chastity and obedience as a way to live a life given over completely to the Lord. You are willing to give all to possess Him whom you love.
In this act today you embrace a radical witness to the Gospel and you want your life to continue to be an instrument of enabling others to seek first the Kingdom of God. You declare that you have discovered that a life given over completely to Christ is a treasure worth possessing above all else.

Mother Mary Therese, today you finally confirm your awareness that this is God's call for you. St Paul in his letter to the Ephesians which we read today said, “Before the world was made, he chose us, chose us in Christ. These words have special application in relation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was immaculately conceived because she was chosen in Christ. They also apply to you today. As you make this act of final profession of vows you are affirming that God has chosen this for you, chosen this in Christ.

St Paul then adds that we are chosen “to be holy and spotless, and to live through love in his presence”. Know today that this is what God has called you to be – holy and spotless. And you are to “live through love in his presence”.

Today it is an act of trust and surrender. Know that whatever lies ahead God has accepted the offer you have made and will be with you faithfully, guiding your steps and enabling his purposes to be realised in and through your life.

Go forward with great faith. Walk this path wherever it leads you. Let God take this offering that you make today and turn it into his own kind purposes.

May the Lord abundantly bless this gift of yourself and may your laying down of your life – in the same spirit as the Virgin Mary laid down her life – be a source of abundant new life for you and for many whom your life will touch. 

Archbishop Julian Porteous
Tuesday, December 8, 2015

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