Solemn Rite of Consecration – January 19, 2019

Come Holy Spirit
Come, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created.
And You shall renew the face of the earth.

My dear brothers and sisters,

I invite you to witness the Solemn Rite of Consecration of Marianne Cano to a Life of Virginity for a woman living in the World.  Marianne, God has called you and has led you to this moment in your life.  You are to be united to God and to dedicate your life and service to God and His people.  I thank your family for giving you life, love and faith.  I thank those who have nurtured you and directed you in your journey of faith: Sister Kathleen Power, SSJ and to the many other sisters, priests and people who have helped and prepared you for this moment in your life.

In the first reading from the book of the Prophet Isaiah we hear not words of command but words of encouragement. “I will not be silent, nor will I be quiet for Jerusalem’s sake.” The people of Israel are returning home to Jerusalem after a long exile.  They are experiencing a new relationship with God. The bond between God and His people is being renewed and restored. For the people of Israel being with God means cultivating a new and intimate relationship. This new relationship will be like the intimate bond between a husband and wife; they will no longer be forsaken or desolate but will become one – to be the delight and the espoused of the Lord.

What does it mean to be with God? What does it mean to cultivate an intimate relationship with God? It calls for making God’s presence real and vibrant in our life. God becomes a person with whom you can talk.

In John’s Gospel, God reveals Jesus for the first time at a marriage feast in Cana.  John’s Gospel is full of signs and symbols pointing to a deeper reality; namely the presence of God in word and deed.  Marriage initiates a relationship and a celebration of life and love.  Jesus begins His relationship or ministry at a celebration of life and love. Mary, the mother of Jesus, is the first to speak in the gospel of John.  What does Mary say? . . . “They have no wine.”  A wedding feast without wine is just not a celebration but an embarrassment to the couple. Jesus responds, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” Jesus calls Mary “woman” which brings us back to Genesis. God calls Eve woman. Mary is the new Eve. Mary’s concern is not just for the newlywed couple but for all of us. Mary is concerned for our lives, our happiness and our salvation.  Jesus response, “my hour has not yet come” refers to Jesus’ death. Jesus did not reveal who He was until His death on the Cross.

We return to Mary’s words to the stewards, “Do whatever He tells you.” Jesus performs His first miracle of changing water into wine quietly and discreetly.  Six stone jars filled with water become the best wine. There is an overabundance of the best wine for all the guests. For John, Jesus replaces the water of Jewish purification with the new wine of salvation. At the last supper Jesus changed wine into His blood. The abundance of wine at the marriage feast of Cana is that deeper symbol in John’s Gospel of the abundance of God’s grace in the world for all who seek it.

Marianne, the Scriptures reveals so much to us about God and our faith.  In the Psalms, we hear, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” We must cultivate a relationship with God. Unfortunately, too many Christians today do not know or believe in God. Jesus has become a personality not a person, set in dogma and doctrine. Yet it is Jesus in whose memory we celebrate in the Mass; proclaiming the Eucharist as His Body and Blood. Pope Benedict reminds us that Jesus cannot be an object, but must become the subject of our lives. Jesus is not only beside us, but dwells in us. It is God’s grace that gives us the knowledge and strength to make Jesus the subject of our lives.

Marianne, prayer is our only means and source of cultivating and strengthening our relationship with God. The disciples watching Jesus praying, discovered for the first-time what prayer really is. They came to the realize that they never prayed before.  So, they asked Jesus, “Lord teach us to pray.” The Our Father came into the world as a gush of life emanating from the heart of Jesus.

Our lives can become so busy and full that we don’t have time for God or prayer. We need to restore the power of God in our lives.  We need to place our trust in God, not in ourselves. Saint Augustine said prayer does not mean being constantly on our knees or standing with our arms raised to heaven. There is another kind of prayer, interior prayer, and that is desire.  If our desire is continuous, our prayer will be continuous, too. If we desire God, the rest will follow by God’s grace.

Marianne, our prayers for you continue, May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God be always with you.

Come Holy Spirit. Come and fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.  Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created, and you shall renew the face of the earth.

St. James Cathedral, Orlando