In the card I gave him, I wrote this:
My dear Brother Philip-Martín,
I wish you every blessing on this day of your solemn profession. The pall has been placed over you that you may be raised into new identity as a Benedictine Canon. May you always strive faithfully to uphold the Rule and the Gospel, and may you remember that in both your successes and your failures, God abides with you always.
Love and blessing,
The temptation of Benedictine life as I experience it is to believe that divine favor is greater when one does more--prays more, works more, gives more. But the remedy for that temptation abides within the Benedictine tradition as well. Even in death, when our will and power to act passes away, we are God's beloved. Br. Philip-Martín allowed the funeral pall to be placed over him as a sign that he had relinquished every power of his life, that God might accept his lowliness. Benedictines approach God by emptying themselves, that God might fill them. A Benedictine's success in praying, working, or giving isn't her own--it is God's.
When my novitiate comes to an end, will I be ready to give my life over, to release my every power, to lay myself bare before God in a death of all that I can do and accomplish and be on my own? Will I trust, in that moment of utter powerlessness to please God, that I will be called forth to rise up again as God's Beloved?