Monastery of the Visitation



 

                 Fr Jim Hurley’s sermon for the Daughter’s Consecration of Sarah & Teresa

                                      15th June 2019

 

Dear Sisters of the Visitation, dear Daughters of St Francis de Sales, dear Sarah & Teresa with your respective husbands & daughters. I am very happy to be with you today to celebrate with your Fransalian Family your formal consecration as Daughters of St Francis de Sales here in this lovely setting  -  the living environment of the spirit of St Francis de Sales.

 

Although I do not know you very well  -  we have seen one another around this altar over your period of formation under the direction of your Formator, Sr Mary de Sales.

 

In the One, Holy, Catholic & Apostolic Church there are different types of spirituality: & so we speak of the Carmelites, Benedictine, Franciscan & Ignation Spiritualities  -  to mention but a few & today we acknowledge the spirituality of St Francis de Sales  -  all specific & particular in content & method but all with ONE purpose & ONE goal  -  to focus on Christ & His Gospel  -  & today for want of a better expression we’ll use your own motto  -   the purpose of any spirituality & prayer is to LIVE JESUS. He is our focus, our alpha & our omega, our beginning & our end. LIVE JESUS.

 

It reminds me of a statement of Leo Tolstoy, a famous Russian author who underwent a serious conversion in the latter years of his life, & who wrote a volume entitled ‘The kingdom of God is within you’  -  a direct quote from St Luke’s gospel: he describes a disciple of Jesus as a ‘ a Christ in miniature’. We are all called to be just that ‘Christ in miniature’ & we translate that today as LIVE JESUS.

 

Today Sarah & Teresa you are being consecrated as Daughters of St Francis de Sales. You have already been consecrated in Baptism & received the gifts of the Holy Spirit in Confirmation. You are both married women  -  you are here with your husbands & your daughters  -  & when you stood before the altar & expressed your marriage vows to one another by word & intention, you exchanged the Sacrament of Matrimony to one another, & in this mutual self-gift to each other the Lord blessed & consecrated you both to LIVE JESUS in that state of life.

 

Today Sarah & Teresa you stand before this altar, having completed a journey of discernment, self-examination & formation, & in response to God’s call, you make this act of Consecration  -  again another moment of self-gift to

LIVE JESUS. So today is a special milestone  -  not a run of the mill occasion & I think it is good for us to remember that no-one has the right to consecration, or to make an act of consecration in the form you do today. You see I did not have the right to ordination  -  nor did the Sisters here have the right to become consecrated religious to LIVE JESUS by living the vows of Consecrated Life as members of the Order of the Visitation. No, we all felt a call from God to serve Him in a particular way, but we all had to discern whether this was truly a call from God to serve Him, not merely a pious feeling, & so we needed a time of formation at the end of which we were deemed ready to receive the formal call to the Priesthood from my Bishop, the Sisters from their Major Superior & today, for you, the formal call & approbation from the Society of St Francis de Sales. Well, we are here.

 

Today therefore is a day of joy, happiness, fulfilment & thanksgiving & what better way to do this than surrounding this Altar in the presence of Our Blessed Lord, Mary, Mother of the Church & the whole court of Heaven with hearts full of praise & thanksgiving & in doing so living up to your motto  -  LIVE JESUS.