ALL SAINTS 2020 SOLEMN PROFESSION DOM LOUIS OSEI, OSB In the Book of Tobit we hear:Tobit continued immovable in the fear of God, giving thanks to God all the days of his life. … and look[s] for that life which God will give to those that never change their faith from him. (Tobit 2:14, 18 Vulgate). At the 2nd Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes declared:
The dignity of the human person rests above all on the fact that humanity is called to communion with God. The invitation to converse with God is addressed to humans as soon as we come into being. For if we exist it is because God has created us through love, and through love continues to hold us in existence. We cannot live fully according to truth unless we freely acknowledge that love and entrust ourselves to our creator. (PASTORAL CONSTITUTION ON THE CHURCH IN THE MODERN WORLD, Gaudium et Spes, n. 19).
Today, Brother Louis, entrusts himself to his creator. Through professing the three monastic vows of stability, conversion of life and obedience, he is true to his humanity as a person called to communion with God. Like Tobit, he wishes to express his desire to be immovable in his seeking God, giving thanks to God all the days of his life, so as to receive the gift of God stated by St. Benedict as: to God, loving fear… Let them prefer nothing whatever to Christ, and may Christ bring us all together to everlasting life (RB 72:9, 11-12).
Those that never change their faith from God, Tobit says. Pope Francis states that faith is leaving space for God, leaving space for love. Through his vows, Brother Louis, out of love of God, embraces Christ who has already embraced him. In the early English, Anglo-Saxon poem, The Dream of the Rood, the cross shudders when Jesus ascends, embraces the cross. In his life as a monk there will be times when Brother Louis will need to embrace the cross. He shall through patience share in the sufferings of Christ that he may deserve also to share in his kingdom (RB Prol 50). In his exhortation On the Call to Holiness in Today’s World, Gaudete et Exsultate, Pope Francis says, “God is eternal newness. He impels us constantly to set out anew, to pass beyond what is familiar, to the fringes and beyond... God is not afraid! He is fearless! He is always greater than our plans and schemes” (n. 135). This is what Brother Louis affirms by taking religious vows.
As we move forward to the actual profession of vows - “your profession leads you to salvation” (Romans 10:10) - may the love of Christ impel each of us to pray that the Holy Spirit comes down, overshadows Brother Louis so that he shall run on the path of God’s commandments, his heart overflowing with the inexpressible delight of love (RB Prol 49). Like Tobit and his family, may Brother Louis bless God, utter God’s praise before all… never tire of giving God thanks,… and make known the wonderful works of God (Tobit 12:6, 22, cf. Vulgate).
Today we celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints. In the first reading, John has a vision: I saw a huge number, impossible to count, of people from every nation, race, tribe and language (Revelation 7:9). Saint Benedict in his Rule instructs that profession should be made before all… before God and his saints (coram omnibus… coram Deo et Sanctis eius, RB 58:17, 18). Religious Profession is not a private act but a public liturgical act before your monastic community, before those present here, before the church, before all humanity, before all creation, before all. More specifically, Brother Louis you are making your Profession in the presence of our Brother Gabriel Peh who is celebrating the Silver Jubilee of his monastic profession. Brother Gabriel embodies what Pope Francis expressed in his recent Encyclical Fratelli Tutti saying: monks [must] realize … a readiness to move beyond themselves in openness to others … that excludes no one and a fraternity that is open to all. (nn. 90, 94). As we rejoice in the first monk of Kristo Buase Monastery to attain silver jubilee, it encourages Brother Louis to persevere in his purpose, his profession as a monk, with holy prayer, relying upon its power, praying to the Lord continuously in the presence of the Lord, beseeching God with all his heart (Judith 4:12, 14, 16 Vulgate) immovable in his seeking God, giving thanks to God all the days of his life, so that he may glorify God with the multitude of Saints and Angels with one voice of praise (Preface).