In the name
of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
sisters and my dear brethren:
In a few
moments in accordance with the custom of the Church and in accordance
with Tradition, we are going to bless these religious habits,
these crosses, these medals, these rings, these veils and these
all of this? Why these blessings? Why these religious habits?
Would it not be preferable to abandon these customs which seem
no longer to have any significance in our day? We, therefore,
ask the Church in her Tradition: why these blessings? Why these
religious habits? Why these religious objects? The Church tells
us that it is because these persons who are going to be clothed
wish to become religious. We again ask the Church: what is a
person who becomes a religious? (For the answer) we open the
law of the Church which is called Canon Law. We find in Canon
Law that a religious is a person who pronounces the three vows
of religion: the vows of obedience, of chastity and of poverty.
All of this seems so formal, so strict: what then is a person
who pronounces these three vows, and what do these three vows
vows signify that the person who consecrates herself as a religious
abandons henceforth the pleasures of the flesh, abandons all
that money is able to procure for us here on earth, and abandons
as well her own will. Obedience is the vow by which the religious
abandons her will into the hands of her superior. The vow of
chastity is that by which the religious sacrifices the joys
of maternity, and the vow of poverty signifies that the religious
despises henceforth the things, the goods of this world. She
does not wish to profit from all that money legitimately or
alas illegitimately can procure for us here on earth. All of
this seems to have a rather negative aspect, a penitential aspect,
an aspect of austerity of renouncement, abnegation. Is it this
alone that truly makes the religious? Is there nothing else,
no other more elevated motive other than the simple desire to
do penance and to appear in the eyes of the world as a person
who despises the world? Is there not a more profound motive
to pronounce these vows? Yes - indeed! There is a more profound
motive! All the rest would mean nothing, absolutely nothing,
if there were not. It is He, He who draws the religious to Himself.
You know, there is only one name in heaven and on earth which
is able to attract souls to the point that they consecrate themselves
to Him. It is Our Lord Jesus Christ! There is the key to the
mystery. It is He who has touched the heart of the religious,
of priests, all Christians. There is only one name here below
which has been given in order to save us, in order to have eternal
life; one person alone who has shed His blood in order to save
us from our sins: Our Lord Jesus Christ.
is this Person who has the privilege of this power to draw souls
to attract hearts in such a manner that those who wish to become
religious abandon all that gives joy — apparent joy — here on
earth? Who is, therefore, Our Lord Jesus Christ? What has He
done for us?
If one glances
at history since Our Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven
one sees the number of martyrs of all ages of all conditions
who have given their blood in order to follow Our Lord Jesus
Christ because they adored Him, because they loved Him, because
they obeyed Him. For His name alone they were ready to shed
their blood. So many martyrs! So many nations who, because of
their faith, have been massacred: because they believed in Our
Lord Jesus Christ! So many vocations! So many monasteries! So
many convents which were erected to enclose those who wished
to pass their whole life praying, adoring, and serving Our Lord
Jesus Christ. What great generosity! What great charity this
name alone has raised in the entire world!
homes the venerated name of Jesus gives the virtues necessary
for the family, makes a more Christian home — a home were one
respects and honors the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ. So many
souls have dedicated their entire life to serving the sick —
to serving the Mystical Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ — to serving
the suffering in hospitals, in infirmaries, in leper colonies
— wherever there are suffering members of the Mystical Body
of Our Lord there have been generous souls to minister to these
sufferings. Why? Uniquely for those who are suffering? NO! In
the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ!
souls have devoted their lives to teaching the Faith, the catechism,
to the religious education of children, of families. These souls
have spent their lives for Catholic education — for Christian
education. Why? In order to make Our Lord Jesus Christ known!
And today, do not the Epistle and Gospel say the same thing
— that is our faith: we believe that Jesus Christ is the Son
of God, we believe, therefore, that He is God Himself. Per
quern onmia facta sunt — By whom all things were made —
We have been made by Our Lord Jesus Christ. We are creatures
of Our Lord Jesus Christ and He shed His blood for us. He came
upon earth to sacrifice Himself for us: we then also wish to
sacrifice ourselves for Him. Thus, this is religion; this is
why one becomes a religious.
sisters, if you are not attached to Our Lord Jesus Christ during
your entire life, you have no reason to become religious — none.
This is why you are going to receive your religious habit, in
order to manifest Our Lord Jesus Christ by your religious habit.
This is why you are going to receive your veil, your medal and
your crucifix. This is why you are going to be blessed in the
name of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
and mothers of families might say "It certainly is pleasant
to be a religious. Without a doubt, one separates oneself from
a great number of joys but also from a great number of difficulties.
Certainly convents and monasteries must be paradise on earth
since it is the Church itself which says Ubi Jesus, ibi paradisum,
there where one finds Jesus, one finds paradise. Thus, if
Jesus is in religious communities, paradise is there as well."
a doubt, this perhaps should be the case. But the good Lord
does not permit paradise to exist upon earth. On the contrary!
He has promised us the cross. He has promised us sacrifices
in religious communities — even monasteries. It would be a serious
mistake to believe that we could find on earth a place where
we could be as in paradise. Paradise is reserved until after
course of our life we must carry our cross. Whatever one may
be: Christian spouses, religious, priests — we all must
carry our cross. We cannot find Our Lord Jesus Christ here on
we find Him with His cross. If we find Him, He will impose His
cross upon us — "Carry thy cross and follow Me". This
is what He tells us: "If thou wish to gain eternal life,
carry thy cross and follow Me." He did not say "I
will give thee happiness upon earth", but rather He told
us "Thou shalt have eternal life in heaven but first carry
why my dear sisters, do not deceive yourselves, you are beginning
the way of the cross but a way of the cross, as Our Lord said
"My yoke is sweet and my burden light". Borne with
Our Lord Jesus Christ in following Him, the cross becomes light.
Remember that this cross assimilates us to Our Lord Jesus Christ;
it makes us resemble Our Lord Jesus Christ. Remember that by
His cross we participate in the redemption of the world. When
our blood must flow in carrying this cross, our blood will be
mixed with that of Our Lord Jesus Christ and souls will be saved.
the least of the smallest sufferings, are occasions to mix our
blood with that of Our Lord for the redemption of the world,
for the redemption of our souls. Thus, how good it is to be
with Our Lord! This is why the saints and martyrs wished to
suffer, they desired the cross.
the words of St. Andrew when seeing the cross to which he was
going to be attached — O bona crux! — O good cross! St.
Andrew knew that attached to his cross he would resemble even
more Our Lord Jesus Christ and that he would ascend to heaven.
He knew also that partaking in the sufferings of Our Lord, he
would save souls. Thus, perceiving it from afar he cried O bona
crux! May you also be able to say everyday of your life
when your crosses weigh heavily upon your shoulders O bona
crux! They will further unite you to Our Lord Jesus Christ
because they will make you understand all of His sufferings.
you have as a particular patron the Blessed Virgin Mary: Our
Lady of Compassion: Our Lady of Seven Sorrows who had not a
single sin, who was immaculate from her conception, who did
not commit any sins here on earth: if she merited to suffer
with her divine Son in such a way that her heart was pierced
with a sword, she who did not deserve these sufferings — shall
we who deserve to suffer because of our sins dare not to imitate
and resemble the Blessed Virgin Mary?
holy patron the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Compassion,
Our Lady of Seven Sorrows, to teach you to suffer with Our Lord
Jesus Christ in order that you also will one day share in His
In the name
of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.