Happenings

Vigil Service Reflection for Sister Rebecca Mayer, OSB

Vigil Service Reflection for Sister Rebecca Mayer, OSB

Vigil Service Reflection for Sister Rebecca Mayer, OSB
January 1, 2016
by Sister Susan Lardy, OSB

Christmas season is a season of Light! We believe that Christ, the Light of the world, came that we may have Life. Christmas lights are reminders of the Light of Christ. During Advent, we were aware of the diminishing light of the sun. Now after the Winter solstice, we watch and eagerly await the sun’s journey upward, shedding more light and warmth on our winterized world.

Remembering Sister Rebecca is to be mindful of her journey toward Christ, the true Light. Her journey began with her baptism into Christ. The reading we just heard from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans reminds us of our baptismal call. Through baptism, we are awakened to the new life God offers each of us. We are awakened to our call to be instruments in bringing the Light of Christ to others.

Sister Rebecca’s response to her baptismal call was deepened in her call to monastic life. With baptism we commit ourselves to follow in the footsteps of Christ, personally and as a community of believers. In her response to the call to live the common life as a Benedictine Sister, Sister Rebecca’s desire to live the Gospel was strengthened. St. Benedict’s Rule is based on the Gospel. As a follower of Christ and St. Benedict, we are called to be bearers of the Light of Christ. We are called to continually renew ourselves in listening to the Word, who is Christ.

Through our baptism, we are bonded to the Lord Jesus who gives meaning to our lives. Baptism gives us new life in Jesus, and the community is the place where we serve together. Sister Rebecca’s service to us, her sisters in community and in the Diocese of Bismarck, was her music ministry. The Word of God was the foundation of her spirituality and the source of her inspiration in her ministry. She taught young people with enthusiasm and delight. She found joy in bringing many adults to a fuller understanding of celebrating the Eucharist. She offered assistance to parish choir directors and organists in their commitment to parish liturgies as community celebrations of unity and joyful service. Sister Rebecca faithfully led us in our common prayer as organist and choir director. For Sister Rebecca, music ministry was a way to create and sustain community life in Christ. We are grateful for her desire to bring us to celebrate Christ our Light. She trusted and believed that Christ’s presence is made more real and tangible through our prayer and song together. Through her commitment to music ministry, Sister Rebecca was a Christ bearer, bringing Christ to those she served.

A commentary I read recently said it this way: “True Christian celebration is a matter not just of certain fixed times or moments; it is about the way we live the whole of our lives, steadfastly committing ourselves to do what the life and teaching of Christ demand of us.” Sister Rebecca firmly believed that we are enabled to follow the Lord Jesus in his journey from death to life, in service of others and that by our humble service, we bring the Light of Christ to those whom we serve.

Life is always lived forward. St. Paul wrote to the Romans, “If we have died with Christ, we believe we shall also live with him. We know that Christ raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over him.” We pray this evening that Sister Rebecca’s journey to Christ the Light is fulfilled by his promise to raise her up to new Life in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and that she joins the heavenly choir in songs of praise and thanks.

I want to close with a prayer Sister Rebecca included in her 50th Jubilee celebration. One of her wishes was to celebrate her 60th anniversary of her profession this coming summer. She will celebrate that in heaven. This prayer had special significance for Sister Rebecca and I offer it as a special way to thank her for her presence in our community as a music minister. It is a prayer of blessing of Liturgical Music and written by Michael Kwatera, OSB, of St. John’s Abbey.

“We give you thanks, God of all times and places, for sending your Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Savior. He brought to this world the song of your praise that fills the halls of heaven.

‘Let the ministry of poets, composers, and musicians help us to give pleasing worship to you in this holy house and generous service to our sisters and brothers in the world outside.

‘Be powerfully present in every word and note we sing or play or hear as you were present in the heart’s melody of your holy martyr Cecilia, whom the Church honors as the patron saint of music. In company with her, and with the Blessed Virgin Mary, who sang of your mercy and justice, we praise and glorify you, both now and forever. Amen.”

Sister Rebecca, go in peace and joy to the place prepared for you and many the Light of Christ shine on you forever.

 

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