Written by Daniela, a young woman preparing to enter religious life this month.
“For all the promises of God find their yes in him. That is why we utter the Amen through him, to the glory of God. But it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has commissioned us; he has put his seal upon us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” 2 Corinthians 1 20-22
My walk with Christ thus far has truly been one of surprises. He has called me to come closer, to go deeper, and to trust more fully in his love and grace. The world, however, does not foster this intimate relationship. I’ve learned that many times throughout discernment, we can lose heart and feel as though the seed that was planted in our hearts is being threatened by surrounding thorns. Yet God, in his infinite goodness, sends people into our lives to water this fragile seed.
Last summer, my friend Marie went on a mission trip to Albania and stayed with a religious community in Shkodër. She left home with an openness to do God’s will and I was greatly inspired by it. I realized that I too had this desire within me. But what exactly did God want?
As I came to understand through prayer, all he wanted was me, just as I was. That summer I felt his presence as he pursued and continually reminded me of all the ways that he loved me. It was more than a sentiment or an emotion; it was the reality of the Father who goes in search of his children, and rejoices as they return to his embrace. And what I found in his embrace was endless mercy and love, far beyond what I could understand. When Marie came back that summer, things were different. We were filled with true peace; and joy that was constant even in the midst of life’s trials. We prayed, laughed, cried, and encouraged one another to follow Christ, wherever he may call us.
That fall, we went on a discernment retreat to a convent in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Before the retreat even began, we found ourselves kneeling before a little grotto behind the Motherhouse (divine providence or trespassing…?) As we sang before the statue of Our Lady, we were filled with the grace to go in haste, and not only be hearers of the word, but doers of the word that was sown into our hearts.
Marie is now back on mission in Albania (and has been accepted for entrance!) as I prepare to enter the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist this fall. We thank God for blessing us in great abundance with one another, and even more brothers and sisters who heard the word, and were commissioned by the Spirit to proclaim it to us and to all they encounter.
My prayer for those discerning will continue to be that you may carry the word within you, and by joyfully answering “yes” you may witness to it with your life like Our Mother Mary.
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. This I command you, to love one another.” John 15 16-17
His grace and peace be with you!
See you in the Eucharist,