With freshness and zeal

abbot hugh webEvery renewal of the Church has had a renewal of religious life at its heart

His Lordship, Dom Hugh Gilbert, the Bishop of Aberdeen had this to say on the occasion of the arrival of the Dominican Sisters of Saint Cecilia (Nashville, Tennessee) on 25 August:

The religious life, as history ancient and recent shows, is not all glory. Corruptio optimi pessima. But when it is good, it is very good. Every renewal of the Church has had a renewal of religious life at its heart. It is a barometer of the general state of the Church at any given time or place. I think a Church in which the consecrated life is weak or absent is like a Holy Trinity where the Holy Spirit is asleep. The Holy Spirit is the life and joy and generosity of God in person. He is the flowing love of the Father and the Son poured into one divine person. And so, as a created echo, is the consecrated life within the Church. It is all this in many human persons. There is a vision to suggest here. Through faith and baptism, all of us become sons and daughters of God in Christ, in the Son, the Second Person of the Trinity. We all become filial, Second Person-persons as it were. Then those who are ordained are given a share in the fatherhood of the First Person, the Father. And those who are consecrated somehow find themselves under the sign of the Third, the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit is the Giver of Life, the Inspirer, the Comforter. He is from the Father and the Son and the Bond between them. And when the consecrated life is being lived by women or men with freshness and zeal, everyone – laity and clergy – is inspired and comforted, bonded and united. The Trinity is one, and the Church is one, and the different states of life flow in and out of one another, enhancing and enriching. Don’t we all feel this here and today? Isn’t it striking that such a small beginning can already have such an uplifting effect? That we already feel re-charged?

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