Dedication of the Abbey Church
and Solemn Profession of
Dom Alistair Findlay
4th September 2017

"Will God really live with men on earth?" These were the words of King Solomon at the consecration of the Temple in Jerusalem, to which God replied, "My name shall be there." Today we celebrate the Dedication of the Abbey Church, for this building was consecrated on 4th September 1860. All the great men were there: Bishops Brown and Ullathorne, Mgr. Manning, and the Mass celebrated by Abbot Guéranger of Solesmes. People still ask, as they did in Solomon's day, "Does God really live here?" and the Lord still replies, "I am there." In fact, if there is one constant throughout the Bible, it is this, God's promise to his people, "I am with you. Do not be afraid."

In today's gospel, Jesus, after driving the traders and their wears out of the Temple, tells the Jews, "Destroy this sanctuary and in three days I will raise it up." St John explains, "He was speaking of the sanctuary that was his body." St Paul takes this further, calling the Church the Mystical Body of Christ, he the head and we the members. St Peter, in today's second reading, calls Jesus Christ, "the living stone, rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him." He askes us, as Christians, to set ourselves close to him, so that we might be "living stones making up a spiritual house." Hence, we become "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a people set apart to sing the praises of God, who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light."

Dear Br Alistair, this monastery, this school for the Lord's service, as St Benedict calls it, is part of the Mystical Body of Christ and each one of us a living stone that makes up this spiritual house. Your vocation as a monk of Belmont is to be a living stone, whose heart of flesh is filled with the love of God and the grace of the Holy Spirit to the extent that you, by your monastic profession, become an icon of Christ, an icon of the living God.

The vows you are about to take in the Rite of Solemn Profession speak for themselves. You enter into the tomb with Christ, so as to rise with him to new life. By Conversatio Morum, you vow to die each day to sin and self and to live out in your own flesh the sacrifice of the Cross, for your own salvation and for the salvation of the world. By Obedience, you vow to do God's will in all things, knowing that his will is revealed in the voice of the abbot and community, in the Magisterium of the Church and in your own conscience. By Stability, you vow to remain rooted in the heart of God through fidelity to this particular monastic house, observing the Rule of St Benedict and living a coenobitic life grounded in contemplative prayer. Slowly, but surely, the fleshing out of your vows in the daily routine of monastic life will enable you to grow in holiness, humility, charity and patience. In this way, love of the brethren and love of God will become central to your life, until you prefer nothing whatever to Christ and can say with the Apostle, "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me."

May Our Lady embrace you, St Michael and All Angels protect you and St Benedict pray for you today and always. Amen.