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Dear Sister Flor,

You will make your perpetual vows today. You will be making a historical step this morning and the Church will be making an act of faith as well. Today you take a leap into the dark, making a perpetual “Yes,” even if you do not know what awaits you. Today, the Church and the Lord also make an act of faith in you, even if the Church is not sure how – and if – you will keep your vows in the years ahead. This moment is truly an encounter of faith.

I thus invite you to reflect on three colors that are so evident this morning. These three colors hold three messages for you.

The first color is white. Your habit is white and the vestments of the priests are also in white. White is the color of purity. It is the color of cleanliness. It is the color of nothingness. It is very important to remember that you can only remain pure to the extent that you are willing to be nothing. Nothingness and purity of heart always go together. We violate purity not only by not being chaste but also by selfishness. You cannot be pure and selfish at the same time. The pure of heart will be able to see God. Each time you put on your white habit each day, remember that you are nothing. All that you have is from God, except your sin. Your sins are your only possessions and you cannot even be proud of this only possession. To be simple is to be great in the Kingdom of God. Keep your love pure, simple and holy all the time.

The second color is black. Your veil is black. Black is beautiful. Black is also elegant. Black is emptiness. Black is also the color of death. You are called to be all that. You must be beautiful and elegant for the Lord and because of the Lord. Do not imitate the old style nuns who seem to take pride in shabbiness and sloppiness. Be dignified and live up to your dignity as Christ’s bride. While remaining simple and poor, you must also take care that your body is cared for, not for vanity, but in thanksgiving to God who has chosen your body as His very own and dear temple. Show us that nuns are respectable and dignified. Carry that dignity over your shoulders. Christ is in you. Black is also for emptiness and dying. You are called to live a life of sacrifice.

Life is not easy. The Lord has called you not to a life of comfort and ease, but to a life that will take all of your heart and mind to live. You are being called to a life of continuous dying and rising. The Lord emptied Himself and took the form of a slave. The servant, His spouse, cannot be less than that.

The third color of the day is brown. It is the brown of your being Filipino. The brown of Mother Ignacia, Saint Lorenzo Ruiz, and Blessed Pedro Calungsod. The brown of the Malayan race. I know in my heart that very soon, the Church will see that the color of missionaries will no longer be white, but brown. The brown Filipino will be all around the world as a missionary for Christ. We will take over the world not as a world power but as a missionary powerhouse. Be proud of your color. It is the color of God’s chosen people.

Live up to your commitment as a spouse of Christ. Live your vows with quiet elegance and dignity. Live your espousal to Christ in humility and purity of heart. Live your commitment as a Filipina; your race is chosen, your race is noble. You are a nation of heroes and saints.

Looking For Jesus