Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word were celebrating a few weeks ago the religious profession of Sor Adriana Calzada, who has committed herself to continue the work of Jesus to serve the community. These are the words that were pronounced in this celebration.
Address of Sister Teresa Maya to the assembled community for Mass and Ceremony of Religious Profession:
Praised be the Incarnate Word!
“Today, the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word are celebrating! We celebrate and thank God because He continues to call courageous women to follow Jesus unconditionally in community.
Adriana, your YES, given as a commitment, after reflection and with joy, gives us a reason to be hopeful. THANK YOU. Today is all about this YES.
Today I ask myself, I ask you, the Sisters, your family and your friends, what is the meaning of professing religious vows in this “fluid” world in which we live? The vows are considered a scandal in our world today because there is great resistance of many to making a commitment, especially a permanent commitment. Religious vows area a special commitment because they have to do with our relationship with God and with following Jesus Christ. This commitment, this alliance, will orient your whole life. Vows are the horizon that you will aspire to reach, but which cannot ever be totally achieved.
As you live them, the vows will give sense to your life for they will allow you to move through difficult moments, through deep sadness and through painful failures.
They will be the untiring search for the will of God, found through listening to others, to the signs of the times and the. They will be a possibility, an opportunity and the motive of your hope. This road is merely beginning.
The vows presuppose a permanent dialogue with the God who calls you, over and over again. You renew these vows every-day of your life, in mission, in community, and when facing injustice and suffering in our world. This is a constant development in dialogue of alliance and fidelity. At the beginning, in the middle and at the end, the vows have to do with a constant dialogue with God who is talking to us.
The vows are also an opportunity for conversion and reconciliation because along the road they will be the space where you will find temptation. I dare to borrow the words of the Jesuit, Fred Kammer:
In many ways, you will face the temptation against your vowed life as years go by: The temptation to leave behind a simple life and live in greater comfort, or depend on academic degrees of professional successes, both of which are a temptation against your vow of poverty.
The temptation of the ambiguity in interpersonal relations, a temptation to have privacy and space, to rationalize promiscuity, as well as temptations against your faithfulness to a solitude with God in your celibacy.
The temptation of thinking that you are only needed in one place, that you alone know where God is calling you, or that no one appreciates your gifts. These are temptations against your willingness to obey and go where you are called.
For that reason, I say the vows can only be lived with a permanent attitude of conversion and reconciliation, for we know that our fidelity rests in God.
Today, your Congregation makes a promise to you: We promise that we will be the community that will support you and encourage you, that inspires you and celebrates your commitment in religious life. Live your vows with us, and we, on our part, make a commitment to be good companions on the road. The commitment to this religious community that you made today is solemn, formal and public; thus, this religious family is responsible for your vows, just as you are responsible for them personally. In this living centered in God, in this Sacred Space that we want to be, you will live this commitment.
Your commitment is lived in an apostolic community always willing to serve Jesus in His Church. I am happy to see that your family and your friends are here because they will bear witness to this commitment and they will also be your companions on the road. We live the vows with the community that is the Church, in collaboration and solidarity with our diverse world.
And, what is the purpose of the vows? We will never answer this question fully for it has to do with an absolute confidence and risk in Jesus Christ.
The reality that surrounds us forces us to make a personal and community statement that asserts that the Kingdom announced by Jesus Christ is worthwhile, that it merits a commitment without measure, without rest, and without fear.
Today, Adriana, all the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, renew our commitment in yours. Together we rely on the promises of God in Jesus Christ.”
We encourage you into a holy perseverance.
Thank you and congratulations!