Our joy on the celebration of the feast of our holy Father, St Dominic (8th August) this year was enhanced by the reception of the habit of the Order by Sr M Breidge on the previous Saturday - feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord. Here we share with you some photos from the day and the homily preached by our prioress, Sr Mairead at the clothing ceremony:
Homily at Clothing Ceremony
On this special feast day of the Transfiguration of the Lord, Breidge will receive the habit, adding immensely to the joy of this day.
I realise that instead of trying to speak about this great and beautiful Mystery of the Transfiguration, one would gain much more by entering into the mystery through prayer, and in silence and solitude, allowing it on the contrary, to speak to us in the depths of our hearts.
However, as a few words are probably expected, I will attempt to be brief and focus mainly on the importance of prayer in the life of Jesus and its transformative power in our lives as contemplatives.
Luke says that the aspect of Jesus’ face changed and his clothing became as brilliant as lightning, while Jesus was at prayer. Prayer– this intimate personal relationship with Jesus leading to union with Him and communion with the Blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is in fact the goal of everyone’s life, though sadly, so few are truly aware of it.
Prayer, communion with the Blessed Trinity is given great emphasis in our own constitutions. As early as number 1 in the Fundamental Constitutions ( 1:IV) of the Nuns, bearing witness as it does to the transforming power of prayer, and reminding us at the same time, of the transfiguration of the Lord, it says:
“ Persevering in prayer with Mary the Mother of Jesus, the nuns ardently long for the fullness of the Holy Spirit, so that with unveiled face they may reflect the glory of the Lord and be transformed into his image from splendour to splendour by the Spirit of the Lord (cf 2 Cor. 3:18).”
This scripture quotation( 2 Cor:3:18) is in fact one of the Readings in the minor hours of the Office for this feast.
Gregory Palamas ( 1296 -1359), one of the Fathers of the Church said that it was in prayer that Jesus shone like this, in the company of Elijah and Moses, to show that that blessed vision was the fruit of prayer. The essential events of Jesus’ activity proceeded from the core of his personality and this core was his dialogue with the Father, in other words his prayer.
The Church arises out of participation in the prayer of Jesus (LK 9:18-20; Mt 16; 13 -20). The mountain is always the realm of prayer, of being with the Father. The Transfiguration only renders visible what is actually taking place in Jesus’ prayer; he is sharing in God the Father’s radiance, he is in communion with his Father. When Jesus revealed his glory, giving the disciples a small glimpse of his divine nature- he let them see God dwelling within Him- in order to strengthen them for the forthcoming scandal of the cross.
We may ask have we an example of this transformation/transfiguration through prayer in our own day?I believe we have one in a young Italian teenager, named Chiara Luce ( for light) Badano, who died in 1990 at the age of 18, and who was beatified in 2010.She had been a member of Focolare, and heroically accepted her cancer suffering for love of Jesus forsaken, refusing to take morphine during her last days. Her dedication to prayer and her relationship with Jesus grew progressively stronger and stronger during the two years of her illness, giving her a radiance, remarked on by all who came in contact with her. Everyone loved to be in her company because she radiated peace, joy, and love.She radiated the presence of Jesus within her. Chiara Lubick, founder of Focolare gave her the name ‘Luce’( light) because she was always radiant. She told her that her luminous face showed her love for Jesus.
We pray every grace and blessing on you Breidge as you begin your novitiate and may you radiate peace, joy and love through the grace of the Blessed Trinity dwelling within you. Amen.