Homily for Celine Loh’s Entrance

May 31, 2019 | Reflections from Abbess Hilda

HOMILY FOR
THE OCCASION OF THE ENTRANCE OF
CELINE LOH
INTO MONASTIC LIFE
31st MAY 2019

Celine this is a milestone in your life and the life of our community and you are very welcome.

St Ireneaus said;
God did not call me for any service I might render Him.
He called me
because He knew
that in His service
I would be happy

There are those who think happiness is about having things go my way all the time, living with the people I like, having my wants and desires fulfilled, having life move along in exactly the way I think it should move, according to my gospel. Some think that happiness is about an easy road though life. However St Ireneaus knew, as did St. Benedict, that the road to real happiness is paved with self-surrender, a willingness to lose myself, to be ready to stay put when the going gets tough.

The road to happiness will mean that from time to time Celine you will know real loneliness. You will want the company of your family and friends and they won’t be there. Don’t panic when that happens, it’s just God laying the foundation for something deeper and greater. Don’t be afraid of the “hard and rough ways”, to quote our Holy Father Benedict, which will inevitably be a part of your monastic life. After a while you will recognise them as what I call “the precursors of the divine”. John the Baptist was the precursor of Jesus, the one who paved the way for and announced the coming of Jesus. Tough times Celine are merely announcing to you, the coming of God with all the personal and deep love he has for you. It is only God giving you what you came here to find. Only He is doing it His way, not necessarily your way.

Many years ago I heard a song. It was called “The Elusive Butterfly of Love” and it was sung by an Irish tenor, Val Doonigan now dead. It went like this:

“Don’t be concerned, it will not harm you
it’s only me pursuing something you’re not sure of.
and in my dreams with tales of wonder
chase the vast illusive
butterfly of love”

When I heard the song it felt like God talking and indeed Celine, today God address those words to you with a slight variation:

Don’t be concerned, this life will not harm you,
it’s only Me pursuing something you’re not sure of
and in My dreams with tales of wonder
I chase the vast illusive butterfly of love in you

You will find here Celine a community who take all this very seriously, who continue to be chased by this butterfly, who understand that happiness comes at a price. You will find in this community support, understanding and love. As you grow to love us, so we will grow to love you and through it, you will find even more of the love of God.

We are a human community and that makes us especially loved by God. You will find here people who know how to say “I am sorry”, you will find here people who know how to move themselves out to the way to make room for another. Pay attention to the kindness you see around you, pay attention to the brokenness and the ways in which we love each other through that.

Most of all Celine you will find people here who pray, seriously pray and stake their lives on that prayer. I cannot stress strongly enough like those around you, pay attention to God, be faithful to prayer, make God part and parcel of everything you do think and say. Let God be your every breath.

Finally let me end with the words of Thomas Merton. In the language of our day Benedict would say the same thing.

“Nothing else matters except to be a person of prayer. And some day in gentle quietness, standing amid the ashes of dreams and ambitions, you may be blessed with the only certitude likely to be given, namely that to seek is to be sought and to find is to have been found”

Welcome Celine to this wonderful
journey with us.