June 24th, 2015
Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to behold? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold those who are gorgeously appareled and live in luxury are in kings’ courts…I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John.”
One clear sign Jesus gives of John’s greatness is that he is not a reed shaking in the wind. John could not be shaken nor swayed nor bribed even if it cost him his life, which it did, because he was fixed and grounded in God’s call to him. He had embraced that call with such wholehearted fidelity that he left self-interest far behind. This was not John’s achievement but the victory of God in him. God had his way in the heart of John the Baptist.
And God wants his way in your heart too, Hailey. That’s why Jesus can add those mysterious words: “Yet he who is least in the Kingdom of God is greater than he.” Least, little, fearful weak---yet we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, because Christ is the firm and faithful one within us.
What will he ask of you as a novice, Hailey, but to seek him and to stand firm in your seeking by fidelity to days shaped by the praises of the Divine Office and by the continual call to obey the Father in union with Jesus even when this may be difficult. It is inevitable that you will fall sometimes. The really important thing is that you get up and go on with your eyes fixed on the goal. In this way even when the path seems crooked, it will be a straight way in the desert for our God.
God has truly lured you into the desert, Hailey, to speak to your heart, yearning to form you in his tenderness, mercy and fidelity. This is evident by the corresponding yearning in your own heart to meet, as you have expressed it, “every one of his words with a yes that is whole and eager, that is as faithful and steady and consistent as a heartbeat or as breathing”---a yes that is your very name. And so you will receive a new name today as you have asked, a name that expresses what you long to be interiorly---utterly faithful. We have among us two who already bear in their name an attribute of God, Sofia and Bonitas, and in you we will have a third. As God revealed to us through Moses that he was full of steadfast love and fidelity, in Hebrew hesed and emet, and as hesed and emet came to us fully in Jesus Christ, so in your name, Sister Mary Emet, you will forever be reminded that he is the faithful one and that he calls you also to be a faithful one. May John the Baptist intercede for you in a special way as you begin your Cistercian Novitiate.
Hailey Siracky, Sister Mary Emet
Clothing, June 24, 2015