O Holy Spirit, by whose breath
life rises vibrant out of death;
come to create, renew, inspire;
come, kindle in our hearts your fire.
In every age and land God calls women and men to imitate their Lord by setting spiritual intentions above worldly considerations, the love of God's little ones above the claims of tribe, and obedience to the divine will in place of all personal ambitions. The breath of the Creator Spirit kindles within the hearts of the called various gifts and characteristics, charisms, to bring new life, to create, renew, and inspire the Church. And throughout the ages such charisms abide within her by the order of religious life.
You are the seeker's sure resource,
of burning love the living source,
protector in the midst of strife,
the giver and the Lord of life.
Religious orders spring from the earnest intentions and tireless endeavors of spiritual pilgrims seeking the living Source of the burning love within their breast. Met with abundant help from the Spirit, they endure the strife of putting away their former way of life, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, so that they may teach others to clothe themselves with a new life, the likeness and giver of which is God alone.
In you God's energy is shown,
to us your varied gifts make known.
Teach us to speak, teach us to hear;
yours is the tongue and yours the ear.
St. Benedict of Nursia embodied divine energy, showing forth the charisms of prayer, lectio divina, and work in his life and in his Rule for monasteries. Through him the Spirit teaches those who yearn for life and desire to see good days to keep their tongue from evil and their lips from speaking what is false, and rather to attune the ear of their heart and listen carefully to the divine voice which calls daily, "Come, my children, listen to me."
Flood our dull senses with your light;
in mutual love our hearts unite.
Your power the whole creation fills;
confirm our weak, uncertain wills.
"Nothing is to be preferred to the Work of God," our Father Benedict instructs. When the community gathers for the Divine Office, a Benedictine opens her senses to be flooded by the light of the Holy Spirit. She raises her voice to join with the Communion of Saints, with Angels, and with the Church on earth in their ceaseless choral offering. And when she falters, she is girded up by the good zeal of her sisters and brothers along the way.
From inner strife grant us release;
turn nations to the ways of peace.
To fuller life your people bring
that as one body we may sing:
A religious life on the Benedictine path is "a journey through earthen darkness to the dazzling light that already flames in each of us, but in a hidden place left to each of us to find" (Chittister, p. 38). A Benedictine community is to furnish the human family with a window into the full life made possible through the ways of peace with God and with neighbor. It is in this spirit that the Canon Communities of St. Benedict (OSBCn) are dispersed throughout North America, hosted by parishes within dioceses in The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada. It is in this spirit, through the movement of the Holy Spirit at St. Augustine's in Tempe, that the Canon Community of St. Mary of the Annunciation will be established on the Day of Pentecost. And it is in this spirit with great joy on that same day that I will profess my solemn vows as a Benedictine Canon (OSBCn), be clothed with the full habit, and take the religious name of Br. Chad-Joseph.
Praise to the Father, Christ, his Word,
and to the Spirit: God the Lord,
to whom all honor, glory be
both now and for eternity.