An Eden for God

On July 17, we celebrate the 21st Anniversary of Mother Maria-Michael’s Abbatial Election. Below is a reflection she gave this year on the 35th anniversary of our community’s elevation to an Abbey, and it paints a perfect picture of our Abbess’ spirit: joyful, grateful, loving, wise. We are truly thankful that God has blessed us with such a wonderful shepherd.

 

Today we celebrate the “bar mitzvah” (in a sense!) of our Abbey—the day on which the Church elevated our monastery to an Abbey.  With this gift, we are able to make foundations, we have an Abbess, and we have the responsibility to lead within the Church.  We joyfully take on this responsibility to be faithful to the Church, to Christ.

I think of this place as a little Eden for God, and that we truly have an atmosphere of seeking God.  In Eden, God came every day to Adam and Eve in the garden.  Well He still comes every day to us in the Scriptures and in the Eucharist—You can’t get better.  

We are surrounded by beauty, and the greatest beauty is what each of you brings into the community.  That is the greatest beauty that God gives.  We truly should be a portal of heaven.  An Abbey should be a portal of heaven, a “thin place” where God pulls back the curtain between earth and heaven, so that people can come here and recognize that, and then take it home with them.  

I rejoice in seeing how the Abbey has grown, and how God is so powerful in this place.  It is not we, but He, who has done this; and what a glory that we get to be a part of it.  He has called us to be a lantern, a lighthouse, which the world needs.  We stand for Christ, and people know that when they come here.  They see us in our habits and know what where’re about.  Isn’t there a saying that the greatest sermons are not said, but walked?  Our great witness is to simply live our monastic lives with rejoicing and gratitude.  I can’t thank God enough for what He has done to make this house what it is, and for every Sister who has ever lived in it.  In your prayers, remember to thank God.  Above all, thank Him.  That is the greatest gift we can give Him, when you pray, “I recognize, God, Your goodness, and I thank You.”