Anniversary of the Dedication of the Church at Mississippi Abbey
This is the gospel that was given to me as a penance when I returned to the church in 1991 at Conception Abbey. This sinner had come to Jesus’ house, but the gospel is about Jesus coming to the sinner’s house. That’s what happened in 1968 when this church was dedicated and the Blessed Sacrament was reserved here. Of course, after listening to the choir it is hard to believe there are sinners here, but perhaps some of you (as a child) once said a naughty word.
We come to Christ either the right-handed way or the left-handed way. The right-handed way is by obeying His commands, His way of life, and loving one another as He has loved us. The left-handed way is by feeling bad if we fail to do that. Jesus Christ forms our conscience and lives in our hearts. Our hearts are restless until they rest in Him.
There are inevitably tensions in living in community. When we gather in church in the Eucharistic presence, when we see others come in also clothed in their habits, we remember that all the differences are petty. The habit reminds us that what is deepest and most important in one’s own heart is what is deepest and most important in the sister’s heart. That’s all that matters.
When we celebrate this dedication, we are celebrating all that matters and we celebrate it so we don’t forget it or discount it. When we vow the Evangelical Counsels, we renounce good things that legitimately matter. They are physical and controllable and they are renounced for the spiritual and uncontrollable. We need this church and the practice of gathering here to remind us and renew us in what matters most. The first step of humility, the art of being human, is this mindfulness of what matters most. This church where we sing occasions our mindfulness and our mindfulness fosters our receptivity to the power to live centered on Christ. It is then that we can live a life of deep prayer, forgiveness, and charity for one another. The outward life harmonizes itself with the inward music.