In a certain way, the readings this morning reflect the beauty and sacrifice that is at the heart of the consecrated life. This state of life, “deeply rooted in the example and teaching of Christ the Lord, is a gift of God the Father to his Church through the Holy Spirit.” It is a sign that the individual Christian has taken to heart those words of the psalmist which we have just sung: “In thee, O Lord, have I put my trust.” Very especially, the life of the monastery or the convent is a stable means of immersing oneself in this consecration, it is a place set aside for Christ. It is a constant recalling of the individual to the heart of the mystery of God, and a constant showing forth of that mystery to the Church and to the world. By living the gospel mandate to “carry no purse, no bag, no sandals,” religious jettison those things that encumber the rest of us, freeing them rather to possess only Christ and so also to be possessed by him alone.
The other morning I was presented with a copy of the new Hymanarium published by the Saint Joseph Province of the Order of Preachers. I was fortunate to get to know some of the Dominicans in Oxford during my time there, and I have to say that same infectious zeal, good sense, good humour, and love for the sacred liturgy is present in their brethren at the exceptional Dominican house of studies here in Washington. For the feast of All Saints, for example, a chapel packed with young adults sat through an hour of readings, chant and motets, a fine sermon, and then processed around the cloister singing the litany of the saints. The DC house is full, and they have only just completed another extension. Do the math, as they say.