The ceremony here is much like the ceremony of a marriage in which one's identity shifts before God and the community--what used to be many is now one. Ceremonies surrounding sacramental mysteries are full of rich imagery and ritual that are meant to convey outwardly, in a physical way, that an unseen reality, an "inward grace," is at play. In a wedding, the inward grace is the mystical union of two souls in Christ. In a profession rite, the inward grace is one soul's mystical union with the community in Christ. And as anyone who has taken vows knows, such unseen realities require persistent effort and intention if they are to manifest in the relational dynamics we inhabit.
Those who have been present at St. Augustine's when The Community of St. Mary of the Annunciation has undergone our Rites of Profession have witnessed us taking the vows from this passage in the Rule. We profess the vows of stability, conversion (reformation of life), and obedience as Benedictine canons. Along with our oblates and friends we comprise The Community of St. Mary of the Annunciation and together seek to manifest through our faithful prayers and practice a relational dynamic that reflects the inward grace we enacted in ceremony. I ask your prayers for our community and for those in various stages of approach, whether we are knocking on the proverbial door or staying in the guest quarters. May the Spirit of Christ and of his blessed Mother be ever more palpable in our midst.