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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Conference Given by Abbess Maria-Michael Newe, OSB to Candidates for Enrollment as Oblate Novices

Thanks to Dawn Hardison for her transcript of this conference, which was given on November 10, 2013.

First Mother Maria Michael spoke to us briefly, addressing the ten people who were at the Abbey to enroll as novice Oblates.  First she referenced a book titled Anam Cara, quoting “To be born is to be chosen.  No one is here by accident.  Each one of us was sent here for a special destiny.  When a fact is read in a spiritual way, its deeper meaning often emerges.  Your identity was not offered for your choosing.  In other words, a special destiny was prepared for you, but you were also given freedom and creativity to go beyond the given, to make a new set of relationships and to forge an ever new identity, inclusive of the old, but not limited to it. This is the secret pulse of growth, which is quietly at work behind the outer fa├žade of your mind.  Destiny sets the outer frame of experience and life.  Freedom finds and fills its inner form.”

Mother likes this statement because it talks about taking my destiny… you are destined as far as you want to be.  What do you want to do in life, what do you want to have come out of it, who do you want to a part of that?  God gives us freedom.  What does He give us freedom to do?  To grow, to be the person we were meant to be in its fullness. 

And so those who are choosing now to step forward to become novices – you’ve taken hold of your destiny.  You’ve said ‘I’m not going to be mediocre in life.  I want to go deeper.  I want to be fully integrated into the body of Christ, knowledgeable of what that means, through lectio, through prayer, through work.”  We are not meant to just sail through life.  We are meant to really face it; go through the storms, enjoy the waves, be in the sunshine, see the stars, be present to every moment of life.  There’s no moment that can not bear fruit, and you know that.  Suffering bears fruit, joy bears fruit.  But what bears the greatest fruit?  Love.  Love never fails. 

And so I wish for all those who are becoming new Oblate novices, look to those who have already stepped forward.  Ask them how their lives have changed.  Ask them what has happened to make them want to make that step, and after they made that final oblation, how did they carry it out?  How did that destiny continue to draw them?  And what did they do to continue to be drawn by God?  And isn’t that the most important?  And in the end, how has God become fully alive in you? 

That’s what I wish the most.  We should be able to look at each one and find the face of God, alive, joyful and running.  As St. Benedict says “Run while you have the light of life.”  You are the light of the world, and have the light, so run strong.  And never be afraid to run.  Your destiny is in your hands, and where are your hands?  In His. 

So I wish that for you.  Be sure of our prayers for you, and for all of our Oblates.  You don’t know how often we talk and think of you and are so grateful for you.  .  We depend on your prayers, and your love.  That’s so important.  I just want personally to say ‘Thank you’.   You mean something to us.