The 70th Anniversary of the Foundation of The Abbey of Our Lady of the Genesee
In today’s Gospel St. Mark emphasizes Jesus’ resolve to go up to Jerusalem, to His destiny and also the reactions of the disciples and followers. St. Mark gives more than a report – there is emotion, feelings contained in the account.
Certainly Jesus did not speak of what awaited Him in a monotone – surely He spoke with emotion about His being delivered up, condemned, mocked, spit upon, scourged, his death and rising. He spoke of His life, His call in detail and then there were those disciples amazed, awe-struck and those in fear and dread – yet they followed Him. In a commentary on this scripture, the author wrote: “…this passage forms a striking picture of the pilgrim people of God – following its Lord timidly, perhaps in terror, yet drawn onward by the One ‘who inspires and perfects our faith’ (Heb 12:2).”
Today, with this Mass of Thanksgiving, we celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the foundation of Our Lady of the Genesee. And I believe there are a number of parallels between this event and the Gospel. At Vigils, we were favored with a very personal letter of Dom Gerard McGinley (the founding Abbot) – in listening to his words and between the lines there is his own kind of death and rising – leaving Gethsemani after so many years – setting out with trust to a new foundation. Then there were the monks – professed, juniors, even novices with their own feelings of adventure, of sacrifice, of trust. This too is a picture of the pilgrim people of God – imperfect yet determined – graced – “drawn onward by the One who inspires and perfects our faith.”
Then there is us – 70 years later! What are our feelings, our emotions, the movements of our hearts in our Cistercian journey as we die and rise in and into the Lord? What is the degree of our resolve, of our obedience, of our vowed consecration? Our Cistercian life is not a head trip – a very controlled way of following – rather a journey of the heart therefore vulnerable, fallible and, at the same time, hopefully, given to passion, to love – renewed again and again – a dying and rising together in Christ.
Today we can celebrate with thanksgiving that we, too, are the Lord’s pilgrim people – following the Lord as Cistercians, being drawn onward by our Lord Jesus faithfully – the One “who inspires and perfects our faith.”