2014 Blessing of Ministries

2014 Blessing of Ministries

I especially like the translation and imagery from the Second Letter of Peter that we just heard. And I think that it is a good meditation for us at a Blessing of Ministry celebration.

The first phrase, “It was not by way of cleverly concocted myths that we taught you about the coming...of Jesus Christ…” speaks clearly to all of us who have been and continue to be, for many years, in ministry with the People of God.

We no longer approach life with our head in the clouds. We are not swayed by myths and fables. We are “first-hand witnesses” not only of the realities of life, but of the glory and the power of God working in our lives and in the lives of a countless number of people whom we have encountered in the process of living and serving.

We know this Jesus‒the beloved One; we have been blessed by his life and his message and we re-new our commitment tonight to be on the path that He was on, every day of our lives.

We HAVE heard for ourselves; we HAVE seen the spirit alive in us, through us and around us, in our everyday ministerial and community encounters and experiences.

For us, this life we choose is not based on “cleverly concocted myths,” fabricated fables or devised stories. It is real, it is powerful, and it is our way “to seek God and to respond in prayer and ministry.”

But as much as I resonate with the first line of this excerpt from Peter’s epistle, it is the ending with its unparalleled poetic imagery that surely touches our hearts, wells up in our souls and keeps us going, whatever the day or the hour.

“Keep your attention closely fixed on the prophetic message, as you would on a lamp shining in a dark place, until the first streaks of dawn appear and the morning star rises in your hearts.”

Let us spend some time with this beautiful exhortation. To think about the times when our attention is fixed and focused or the times and circumstances that make our attention stray from what we are about; times when we get out of balance or “get off message,” as the contemporary phrase puts it.

In Erie we are fortunate to have enough open skylines and horizons to see the “first streaks of dawn” many mornings, at least in spring, summer and early fall. They can be breath-taking, filled with color and new light for the new day.

Does this imagery speak to your image of newness or the light that fills your day? Does it help and encourage you as you start out to your ministries?

As we read in Call to Life: "The Rule of Benedict specifies no particular work but all works are ways of sustaining the life of the community and participating in God’s ongoing creation."

Do these streaks of light bring an energy to you?
Do they keep the message fresh?
Do they illuminate your hope?

When the first streaks of dawn appear, the inspired Word assures us, “the morning star rises in your hearts.” Jesus, the morning star....his life, his being, will be with you throughout each day and each night.

Sisters, thank you for your monastic work given in loving service to the world. Again in Call to Life: “The ministry of hospitality, works of justice, and various forms of manual labor continue to be fundamental manifestations of monastic work. Whatever their responsibilities are, the sisters seek to maintain the priorities of community and prayer, while balancing work and leisure.”

Let us commit ourselves anew today and each day of our lives.

Thank you.

Sister Anne Wambach, OSB, the twenty-first prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, Pennsylvania is a native of Philadelphia. She moved to Mount St. Benedict Monastery in 1992 to respond to a desire to experience the monastic way of life. Previously a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Chestnut Hill, Sister Anne began the formal transfer process to the Erie Benedictines in 1993 and made her monastic profession in 1997.

Sister Anne has served the people of the Diocese of Erie as a teacher at St. Gregory's School in North East, Pa., from 1992-1995, and at the Neighborhood Art House in Erie, beginning as program director in 1995 and as executive director since 2005. She served on the Monastic Council from 2006-2010.