Monday, September 7, 2009

Heather Foltz becomes a Postulant!

Today God blessed Our Lady of Grace Monastery with a new Postulant. We are so happy to welcome Heather Foltz into our Benedictine Community. The following is a reflection our Prioress, Sr. Juliann, gave during evening prayer.

Postulant Entrance
Heather Jean Foltz
September 7, 2009

Heather, today is a very important day in your monastic journey. Sisters, today is a very important day in our monastic journey as a community. Family and friends of Heather, today is a very important day in your lives as well. For today we all are more aware of how God is calling us to live a fuller expression of our Baptismal commitment. In the reading we just heard, Jesus asks his disciples to listen to him and to follow him. In the Prologue of our Rule, Benedict asks us to listen with the ear of our heart and to follow the path that leads to God. This scripture passage and this part of the Rule of Benedict both call us to respond to the gift we have been given by our Baptism. In Esther de Waal’s book, Seeking Life, she says, The Prologue is a call, and that means vocation, and what Benedict is laying out are steps into that calling. A vocation is a calling which will make more and more of me. To follow Benedict, as to enter into baptism, will bring a sense of identity; I begin to discover who I am and to see the road along which I am to journey. My true self is under construction and it is the baptismal covenant that will help that forward, in a process of believing, and then continuing, preserving, seeking , serving ,striving… Heather, you have been following your Baptismal call throughout your life. Your parents, family and friends have nurtured that call and as a result you have this sense of identity that Esther speaks about. You have discovered along the road of your life, who you are and where you are to journey. These past few years, you have continued to listen to God more deeply and to follow God. You have prayed, studied and served God throughout your childhood, your college years and your work at Horizon House and St. Paul Hermitage. Today, you take another step in deepening your Baptismal commitment. You are entering this Benedictine community of Our Lady of Grace Monastery in order to continue this journey. You are entering the school of the Lord’s service. This step, as Benedict tells us, is not without challenges for he says: In drawing up it’s regulations, we hope to set up nothing harsh, nothing burdensome. The good of all concerned, however, may prompt us to a little strictness in order to amend faults and to safeguard love. Heather, although monastic life is not an easy life, you will find joy and peace along with challenges and difficulties. You will use the gifts you have developed and will find new gifts within yourself with which to serve God and others.
For Benedict the main question for a newcomer to the monastery is whether she truly seeks God. This question is certainly for you, Heather, as you now begin to live the daily monastic schedule, study the Rule of Benedict, the Scriptures, other spiritual writers, serve others and grow in loving and being loved by your sisters in this community. Do you truly seek God? Is it your desire to live a life centered in Christ, giving up whatever might keep you from this total commitment of your life. As Esther de Waal writes, this question is also for all of us. She says: Is my heart pointing in an unwavering line towards the risen Christ? Is that the direction towards which I am heading? Although Benedict will encourage me, in the end it is up to me whether I respond, and whether I take action or not. Heather is witnessing by her action today, that she is willing to put on this way of life and to follow Christ. In a few minutes, she will proclaim her intention to truly seek God in this monastic community. May her witness renew in each of us, her family and community, our intention to abandon all and to follow Christ.

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