Homily given by Fr. Joe Tedeso at Father Columba Caffrey’s Simple Profession on Oct. 3, 2019
Ephesians 1: 3 – 5
Father Columba, this is a special moment for you and for our Mepkin Community. Moving from the Novitiate to Vows is a time of a new commitment to our life and a blessing of owning the call to be a monk.
Your scripture reading tonight names the grace: the very call God has given you to follow Christ into a relationship as God’s adopted son. Monastic life brings you front and center into this call and relationship. What a spiritual blessing this is for you.
The journey to Mepkin has been an odyssey for sure. From the time of your Sabbatical to your months of discernment then the move to Mepkin and the challenges of getting the Visa and the death of your Father. But you entered the Novitiate and it took some time to clarify the call. Then your Mother died and you had to leave us for several months to take care of the funeral and all the chores and challenges included there.
Upon your return we inurned your Mother”s cremains with your Fathers here at Mepkin. So now the Caffrey family is together. Then you had to deal with some personal challenges which were overcome.
And this brings us to now, the moment of your new life in the Lord as a vowed religious. A momentous occasion!! It’s life changing, you belong to God alone as a Cistercian Monk. The vows of our Cistercian life are powerful. Conversion of Life, Obedience and Stability. We call them a second baptism. A new life for sure. A new promise, a personal one that you make to God this time. As St Benedict tells us so powerfully in the Rule, “This good zeal is so that you prefer nothing whatever to Christ.” There is your life now, this day to day journey to Christ. Live it well.
Fr. Columba, this means no more traveling around the world. No more concerts on Friday nights, no more dinners out with friends. All of that gone, because you know this is a wonderful life which brings you into the intimate life with God in Christ in the Cistercian way. How blessed you are to have found your calling to Mepkin Abbey. It doesn’t get much better than this!!! Seeking God and finding God and in our wonderful brotherhood of monks.
So tonight you will proclaim these vows in public to the community and to the People of God of the whole Church. And today on the feast of Blessed Columba Marmion: your patron. This is a unique connection you make here with Blessed Columba. He too was a priest of the Archdiocese of Dublin. He too took the name Columba after the great Irish St. Columba of Iona.
You were the rector of the Church in which your patron has baptized. You were the Curate in the parish where he ministered and also the Chaplain of the Redemptoristine sisters in Iona Rd parish like he was. And you continue to follow him now into the Benedictine way of life. Blessed Columba was the Abbot of the Benedictine Monastery in Belgium. So many connections for the two of you. And there’s more, I can say you share his gift of writing. And his gift of using his pastoral experience of the parish to enhance in a very good way our monastic life.
Each of our stories are unique. God is always inviting us to more and the gift you have been given is your ability to identify the invitation and act on it. We can all learn a great lesson from your journey. Don’t give up but keep discerning until you know what God is asking even though it is not an easy road and there can be detours. But in the end is a blessing. Knowing your call is a joy and true fulfillment.
Your Yes to the vowed life seeking God above all else causes the angels to sing and your parents to be proud as they gaze down upon you. And all of us are so thrilled to share this moment with you.