The Trappistine nuns celebrated the 20th anniversary of their foundation in the Diocese of Marbel last 11 June 2015.
Bishop Dinualdo, presider and homilist. Seven priests concelebrated.
Bishop’s homily (major points)
Sirach 50: 24-26. Blessing, joy, peace, reconciliation. 1 Cor. 1: 39 – Thanksgiving. Jh. 15: 9-7. Love.
Twenty years ago ten trappistine nuns left Italy to answer Christ’s call “Go”. They founded the Our Lady of Mt. Matutum, Polomolok, South Cotabato.
Pope St. John Paul II wrote on 25 March 1996 his Post-Synodal Exhortation on the Consecrated Life and its Mission in the Church and the World.
It has three main points: (1) “Confessio Trinilates” – origins of the consecrated life in the mystery of Christ and of the Trinity; (2) “signum fraternitatis” – consecrated life as a sign of communion in the Church; and (3) “Servitium Caritatis” – consecrated life – a manifestation of God’s love in the world. The Trappistines through their vows give witness to God’s love.
Vows have their origins in Jesus Christ who is chaste, poor and obedient. Vows are “an expression of the love of the Son for the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit. By practicing the evangelical counsels the consecrated person lives with particular intensity the Trinitarian and Christological dimensions” which are marks of the Christian life (n. 21)
Chastity “as a manifestation of dedication to God with an ‘undivided heart’, is a reflection of the infinite love which links the three Divine Persons” (21)
“Poverty proclaims that God is man’s only treasure.” Poverty lived according to Christ’s example “becomes an expression of that total gift of self which the three Divine Persons make to one another. This gift overflows into creation and is fully revealed in the incarnation of the Word and in his redemptive death”. (n. 21)
“Obedience, practiced in imitation of Christ,… shows the liberating beauty of a dependence which is not servile but filial, marked by a deep sense of responsibility and animated by mutual trust which is a reflection of the loving harmony between the three Divine Persons”. (n. 21)
Thus consecrated life “becomes a confession and a sign of the Trinity”. (21)
“To the extent consecrated persons live a life completely dedicated to the Father, held fast by the Son and animated by the Spirit, they cooperate effectively in the mission of Christ and contribute profoundly to the renewal of the world” (cf. n. 25). This is the importance/relevance of consecrated life.
- Signum Fraternitatis
Consecrated life is a sign of fraternity, communion in the Church.
Fraternal life, understood as a life shared in love is an eloquent sign of ecclesial communion.” (n. 42)
Christ commands “love one another as I have loved you” (Jh. 13: 34). Christ-like love leads to unity. Unity, in turn, is manifested in sharing everything in common: “material goods and spiritual experiences; talents and inspirations: apostolic ideas and charitable services” (cf. n. 42)
Fraternal communion is a God-enlightened space in which to experience the risen Christ. This happens through “mutual love of all the members of the community; a love nourished by the Word and by the Eucharist; purified in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and sustained by prayer for unity” (n. 42), inspired by the Holy Spirit.
“The special gift of the Spirit to those who obediently listen to the Gospel leads the soul to the experience of communion with the Father and with the Son” (cf. 1 Jh. 1: 3). “A communion which is the source of fraternal communion” (n. 42)
This Spirit “guides communities of consecrated life in carrying out their mission of service to the Church and to all humanity”. (n. 42)
- Servitium Caritatis
Consecrated persons are, like Christ, sent on a mission (cf. n. 72). Their mission is to make Christ present to the world through the witness of loving service – loving with Christ’s heart. (cf. n. 73)
“Consecrated persons, because of their specific vocation are called to manifest the unity between self-evangelization and witness, between interior renewal and apostolic fervor, between being and acting.” The first precedes the second (n. 81). This means, personal holiness first (being) then mission, (acting)including missio “ad gentes”. (n. 78)
Services of charity include, among others, a preferential option for the poor and the promotion of justice (n. 82), care for the sick, (n. 83) and passion for the integrity of God’s creation.
“The prophetic character of consecrated life was strongly emphasized by the Synod of Bishops” (n. 84). It was held in 1994. “An important component of this service” (that is, service of charity) “is prophecy” (n. 84)
Pope Francis, in his Apostolic Letter…to all Consecrated People on the occasion of the Year of the Consecrated Life (2014 – 2016) states “to wake up the world is the distinctive sign of consecrated life as prophecy. To be prophets who witness to how Jesus lived on earth; to scrutinize the times in which the prophets live; to interprete events; to discern and denounce the evil of sins and injustices.”
Times are: secularism, materialism, relativism, hedonism, consumerism, individualism. These are challenges to poverty, obedience, chastity (nn. 88 – 91). Discern to do God’s will. (n. 92)
For claristered nuns, like the Trappistines, who have the 4th vow of stability, Pope Francis suggests: “exchange of experiences on the life of prayer, ways of deepening communion with the entire Church, supporting persecuted Christians, welcoming and assisting the needy.”
Let us love God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit and one another in words and deeds.
Shared lunch followed. Congratulations, precious nuns! We love you.