22 December 2009

Thirteen Years Later

After the fire of 1993, which consumed the inside of our school building and drenched the chapel which connects the monastery to the school, we had our sacred spaces -- our chapel and our choir -- rebuilt and rededicated. On 21 December 1996, His Eminence James Cardinal Hickey blessed and reconsecrated the familiar space where we gather six times a day. With the permission of the Office of Liturgy and in accord with the general norms provided by the Table of Liturgical Days, the 21st of December is a Solemnity for our community: a six-candle, Gloria and Creed, white vestments, proper office, and pull-out-all-the-stops (okay, except the oboe stop, that one sounds funny) kind of solemnity. We have a great deal for which to be grateful and marking the anniversary of our chapel's rededication is a special way to do that. Below is a snippet from the second reading at Office of Readings yesterday. It is from a homily given on the day after the rededication: the fourth Sunday of Advent 1996. Serendipitously, the theme from the Song of Songs is always particularly special for us on the 21st of December since it is the first reading given to us by the Church -- to say nothing of an equally-befitting Gospel!

"I would like to speak about what takes place in this chapel today which continues to make it a holy space. My image here are the two principal characters in the Song of Songs . . . . You know the story well. It is a love story. They spot one another and it's love at first sight! Then they lose one another and search frantically throughout the city looking for each other. When at last they meet, they embrace and speak, heart to heart, these poignant words: 'Tenui nec dimittam!' -- I have hold of you and I will never let you go! . . . . That same story, in one way or another, is the story of each sister here. . . . They speak of their mutual love many times each day in this sacred space. . . . In addition to community gatherings here, each sister finds herself in this space in quiet and brief moments many times throughout each day, from very early in the morning to deep into the night. . . . For it is here where the Beloved awaits them."

Very Rev. Lewis Fiorelli, OSFS

No comments: