Homily of The Feast of The Holy Trinity 2019
June 16, 2019 | Reflections from Abbess Hilda
FEAST OF THE HOLY TRINITY
THE BLESSING AND OPENING OF THE ABBEY
Today is an important day for us. On this feast of the Holy Trinity, our abbey was opened and blessed. This reflection will vary a little from the usual homily at a Sunday Mass and I hope you will forgive me.
Today as a community we will do three things and I hope, in exploring them here, to make a connection here with the three persons of the Holy Trinity as it fitting on this great feast.
Firstly today we will remember. We will remember the sisters whose collective vision brought us here from West Pennant Hills in the first place. Urban development began to take over and I heard just these past couple of days that there is now a railway station on Franklin Rd. In the early nineteen eighties our sisters had in their minds and hearts something of a new beginning for our monastic living, a reclaiming of what was important to them about our way of life, in a sense they were refounding our community. They held countless meetings to talk about how things might be; they talked about what was important. Mother Benedicta, Sr Elizabeth, Sr. Mary and Sr Hildegard spent eighteen months looking for the place that was just right and eventually they found it here on Jamberoo Mountain. Because our nuns did that, because they dared to dream of something beyond Pennant Hills, because they took the risk of uprooting from what they knew so very well, we whom they did not know, were assured of a place where we too might follow our own Benedictine call. We were always a part of their vision; they came here knowing that their present time will evolve into this present time. They left us a way of life and a means to live it.
In this they so resembled the Father who has a vision for all of us. Some say He has a plan for us; I don’t necessarily go along with that. I think rather He has a vision, a vision of incredible love; a vision that one day we will find what will bring us happiness and love. And like any loving parent the Father sets in motion, puts in place all the infrastructure we might need and all we have to do is claim His vision in our regard. I would encourage each of us today to look back over your life and see just what the Father has put in place for you. Have a look, how has His vision of love for you were played out?
Also I believe our sisters, in coming here to a new area with new dreams and old dreams, were sharing in the creativity of the Father who is eternally creating, always coming up with something new. While the Father certainly knows what is fundamental to human happiness just as he knows what is fundamental to the working of our planet, nonetheless, he has a thriving business in creating a new day for us over and over again. None of us need stay stuck in the mud of our weaknesses and failures, we need only take them to the Father and then come back in a few days and collect the new item! And furthermore it’s a free service!!!
Secondly, we will not only remember but we will also count our blessings of the last thirty years. We have been blessed in Fr Paul who came here in 1991. We cannot imagine the Abbey without his gentle faithful and caring presence among us. We have been blessed in the twelve years of compassionate leadership of Mother Mary who incidentally put in very power point and supervised the laying of every tile in the abbey, then she sealed every one of them!! We have been blessed in one other sharing each other’s giftedness, struggles and hopes. In truth the dreams of one have become the dreams of all and the dreams of all have become the dreams of one. We have been blessed in the hard times that brought us to new places of awareness and strength; we have been blessed in you our friends who have become a much loved part of who we are here at Jamberoo. We have been blessed in your kindness, your love and your support. At Pennant Hills we had no guests’ facilities as we have here now. Our sisters ensured that was part of the vision too and so we have been blessed in our guests who have brought their seeking and sometimes broken hearts and souls to this place and given us the honour of sharing in their lives.
And in all these blessings and more, we have known the Spirit of God for the Spirit is the blessing of the Father. The Spirit it is that breathes upon tired hearts, and brings comfort and restoration. It is the spirit who comes as encouragement and as the true Paraclete, reminds us of who God is for each us, and the beloved, secure place we hold in the heart of God. I would invite you all today to look over your lives and see, where has the spirit blessed you and what has that blessing done in your life.
Thirdly along with remembering and counting our blessings we will also celebrate and we will celebrate the fact that God has been faithful to us. We will celebrate our way! We will go to the cemetery later today and pray Middle Hour with all our sisters, past and present; we will drink cups of tea and talk, we will tell stories and revisit the old much loved tales which we could listen to over and over again. We will have one of our “all hands on deck” meals and we will ask questions of the five sisters who were part of that original community here in 1989 and are still here. We will watch a video of the opening and we will claim our own story once more. Together in our celebrating we will know again the joy of being one in our monastic calling and tomorrow will be a deeper experience for us because of today. Therein, it seems to me, is the clue to what celebrating is all about.
We can celebrate today because at some stage in each of our lives two things have happened. Each one of us met the person of Jesus Christ, the second person of Blessed Trinity, and having met him at real depth, He left a mark of our hearts that could not be forgotten. Furthermore we know that REAL celebration, the kind that enlivens, unites, makes a new day possible, comes to us through Jesus Christ. At every Mass we celebrate His death and His resurrection, “we are an Easter people,” St. Augustine tells us “and alleluia is our song”. It was Jesus who paved the way for true celebration, and gave a reason for true celebration. There is a mighty difference between “getting together” and “celebrating”. Celebrating says that life is worth living and we say that life is worth living because Jesus gave up his own to make sure we would have the means of accessing the Father’s vision for us all in all that is ours. Again can I encourage you to look back on your celebrations and ask yourself, did real life come out of this? If the answer is “yes”, then praise God today for the presence of Jesus Christ with YOU.
Finally let me end this reflection with reference to our sisters, every single one of them who have gone on before us. They are here today:
“I want to speak these words to you Sisters as the community of 2019. You can take your rest now, you handed on the vision of the Father, and we’ve got it. It’s alright, we know what we have to do .We know our job is to listen with the ear of our hearts. We know we are here to listen to the pain of the world, to God, to each other and we will be faithful listeners. And we know that listening means we must take action, so we will do what you did, we will take the hearts and lives of every refugee, of every broken person, of every lost teenager, of everyone who asks and everyone who doesn’t have the strength to ask, yes we will bring them to the comforting presence of the Father not just in our prayer but in every facet of our lives, again just as you did. We will stay true to the precepts of Our Holy Father Benedict; we will continue to seek God as He has sought us. We will continue to “run on the path of His commandments, our hearts overflowing with eh inexpressible delight of love” (RB) as Benedict did, as you did, we will let God expand our hearts. We know that isn’t always easy but we also know that you pray for us and for all who are dear to us; all those who make our life here at Jamberoo the life giving experience that it is. Take your rest now sisters, all is well”
Abbess Hilda Scott osb