DEIR RAFAT – On January 18, 2020, the Shrine of Our Lady Queen of Palestine was decorated in dazzling beauty. Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate, presided over the perpetual profession of Sister Serafina, originally from Chile and living in Deir Rafat for two years.
The Spirit descended on her to consecrate her to God forever, in the Monastic Family of Bethlehem, of the Assumption of the Virgin and of Saint Bruno.
The celebration was conducted in Spanish. The Chancellor Father Ibrahim Shomali, Father Hans Putman of Bethlehem and Brother Maximilien, a monk of Tel Gamaliel (Beit Jamal), concelebrated, with Deacon Firas Abedrabbo assisting Archbishop Pizzaballa.
In his homily Archbishop Pierbattista commented on the readings of the profession: “Above all, I am happy to be here for this solemn profession, an important moment for your community, but also the life of the Church in Jerusalem, because… each consecration is also a gift to the Church… and thus the whole Church rejoices… Someone who says “yes” to God, is a great joy and it is a sign of the continuous Presence of God amid the Church…
Sister Serafina dedicates herself to God, but it is also God who dedicates her to Him. These are two movements that go together. There is a desire in the heart, a heart that says “yes”, that responds, but there is also a desire on the part of God who takes someone to make him/her His own …
There is this very beautiful passage which begins with the same words used for creation: “I created you, I formed you” (Isaiah 41,1), it is like saying: “I make you new, new creature; you are mine, you belong to me”
God did not create us to leave us alone, but He created us to make us His own … and deep down, the Incarnation of Jesus is God’s desire to enter man and make him His own. And in this fidelity of God, we all are there, you are there. And this relationship will have to grow, will have to take on a flavor … The words “You are mine; I love you; you belong to me …” will acquire a new flavor every day, which contains our life, our weariness but also our joy… The words what He told you today are true; we have experienced it and it is an experience that will always have a taste for life…”
Commenting on the Gospel of the profession John 3:1-16, Archbishop Pizzaballa added: “If someone is not reborn again”, which means being reborn from above, in water and in the Spirit is a continual rebirth. It’s the Spirit that brings us fully into life in God.
By meeting you, talking with you, listening to yourself, people will have to understand that you are a new person, one who talks about things from above … “Taste things from above”. So being reborn again, from above, means that a new person has something different inside of him… Religious life must constantly provoke the life of the world but also the life of the Church, to have the thought for the things from above, the things of the life that does not end here but which has the flavor of the things from above, because its destiny is there.
Archbishop Pizzaballa ended the homily with wishes to the new professed: “My wishes for you are that you will experience daily the fidelity of God and His love, that each day you will experience the meaning of being reborn from water and the Spirit, born again and from above. This continual conversion where the Lord consecrates Himself to you makes you different, not better… Religious life does not mean that our life is better than another, but that it has a different flavor, a flavor of things from above that we must manifest in everyday life, in our conversations, in our relationships with others … Best wishes!