Preek abr Praeses Maksymilian Nawara bij de abtszegening van br. Thijs Ketelaars ( engels)

Homily
Today, on the solemnity of the birth of John the Baptist, during this Eucharist, we are
witnessing the rite of the blessing of the abbot, the newly elected abbot of this
monastery.
we can say that it so happened
or
this is a coincidence
or
recognizing that in Christian life there are no accidents and everything is happening
'for something' take it as an invitation.
God invites us to listen carefully what he is telling us.
what does this rite and the word of God say to me today?
What does it say to you Father Abbot?
What does it say to each of us individually?

John the Baptist is a patron and prototype of a monk. Monks found a pattern for their
lives in the life of Saint John.
– he lived an ascetic and simple life. we even wear a leather belt around our waist, is
inspired by him.
But external way of life is not enough. The way of life can help us in a transformation
of the heart, can be helpful in a process of integrating the whole person (what we call
habitare secum in the Benedictine tradition) , but it cannot do it automatically or
guarantee it.
Life of John the Baptist is inseparable from the life of Jesus. His mission, and
everything he has done and said was because of Jesus:
“I am the voice of someone shouting in the desert. Make a straight path for the Lord
to travel!”
His way of life as well as his mission is incomprehensible without Jesus.
Just like ours – Father Abbot.
We can only make a straight path the Lord to travel.
We can only be a voice of someone shouting in the desert. And least: as John the
Baptist said:

2
“No one can have anything unless God gives it. He must become more important
while I become less important”.
In practice it means – service.
Abbot Gerard has been practicing that for almost 40 years. And I think, because of it
now he can easy take his place among the brethren and say: I did my part!
That’s all!
I need to confess that for me, young abbot, this kind of testimony is very important
and encouraging. Thank you Father!

Sometimes we think we can fully and freely decide about our life, mission, tasks. In
some way it is true.
But today Isaiah and Gospel of Luke convince us that mission chooses us , from
early beginning. God chooses person for the mission and then insist strongly to take
it up.
Why does he insist strongly and not commend or force. Because he respects us very
much. We can say: no!
we have all kinds of desires and expectations, something that interests us much and
is passionate about. But many times we face up the task which we have to do. This
task is in the God’s plan of salvation.
no one joins the monastery to be an abbot – I hope so!!
But anyway We have our own preferences…
And one day Abbot or the community ask us to do something what we don’t want to
do…like being the abbot.
this happens in everyone's life. We do what we like, and suddenly we face the task to
take up, which is big, and overweight us.
My spiritual father told me once. In every such situation you have three options:
1. forget about your preferences and interests, you have task to do. But this way you
will burn out very quickly
2. or you can say I am not interest in such job, because I have my own way. And in
this way you will live a life of illusion.
God speaks to us clothed in everyday life. Every task is in a God’s plan of salvation.
We can connect in ourselves favourites, even there are limited and meet the task.
This is not just a task. This is a task in the God’s plan of salvation and being in it we
never know:

3

Who? When? And by what deed or words, someone can be saved.
We never know how much this task is necessary for us, for our growing in grace of
God and salvation.

We never know…and because we don’t know we just take it up.

John the Baptist said: Who do you suppose I am? I am not the one you are looking
for.
In the God’s plan of salvation … We never know…and because we don’t know we
just take it up.

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