Mike O'Shea Remarks during Monastery Dedication Ceremony
Monastery Dedication Ceremony | August 15, 2022
When I reflect on past events, I often think of them in terms of a journey. For me the journey of the last nine years with the nuns has been one of faith. Faith I laid witness to that not only strengthened my own but that of others as well. I’d like to spend just a few minutes discussing that.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Time does not permit me to read the subsequent 39 verses, but I would encourage you to read the text before you go to bed tonight. This chapter, commonly referred to as the role call of faith goes onto recount some of the greatest acts of faith in God that man has ever witnessed. A sampling includes Noah, who by faith, built an ark large enough to contain 450 semi-trailers, a great distance from any body of water, in a land that had never known rain. Now that is faith
As a human, I am not qualified to judge whose faith is greatest. The text is a summary of the power of faith and what it looks like, not an exclusive club roster or a summary of only the acts of faith that glorified God. As readers, it enlightens our understanding of faith.
For this journey of my own, this monastery has become a great story of faith that has manifested itself in several ways:
The faith of the nuns, which they lived boldly, relentlessly persisting in their belief that God’s provision would be sufficient
The faith of those of us who called ourselves believers, but when challenged with the understanding of what would have to take place to make this happen were made to recognize our faith was smaller than a mustard seed, but through this journey have seen their faith grow
The newly formed faith of those who previously did not believe, but by bearing witness to the faith of the sisters were drawn to him. How wonderful is that!
“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.”
As I read Hebrews 11 in preparation for today, this verse caused me to think of my father and Paul Schafer, both of whom played such an integral role at some point in this project, only to witness it completion from Heaven.
I give thanks to God for crossing all of our paths with the paths of the nuns, allowing us to drink deeply of their friendship and demonstrating to all of us what true faith looks like. I give thanks to the sisters for inviting us to join them on this journey, it has been a privilege to take it together and to call them friend. It has been the most wonderful journey of my professional career.
In closing I will leave you with this thought.
Hebrews 11 leads us to Hebrews 12, which begins with these words
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
I want to leave you with a challenge to reflect on the race that God has marked out for you as a result of this faith journey with the nuns. What is He calling you to do in faith and how will you respond?