Thursday, March 15, 2007

Thus says the Lord:
This is what I commanded my people:
Listen to my voice;
then I will be your God and you shall be my people.
Walk in all the ways that I command you, so that you may prosper.
Jeremiah 7:23

Who knew that today's first reading would fit so perfectly with what's going on in my study of the vows?! Yep, you guessed it. I've moved on to the vow of obedience.

Approximately 2 weeks ago Sr. Gretchen and I completed our study of the vow of poverty - for the moment. You see, the study of the vows never really "ends," per se. Actually, the intense study is the "easy" part (if there is such). Now... I have to continue to grow in it... continue to gain insight and understanding... and continue the road of conversion. That is much more challenging than reading about it. *smile*

So, now our focused study has brought us to the vow of obedience. Great timing, really. This week we had our monthly intercommunity novitiate program gathering. Our topic for our time together? Obedience. Also, I think Lent is a particularly poignant time to study the vow of obedience. Why?

As far as I can tell at this point in time, obedience has to do with listening to God... in the MANY ways that God communicates with us (our community, Scripture, personal prayer, spiritual direction, etc.) and then responding out of love to what God is telling me or telling us. As I stated in my last post, Lent for me has always been a time to examine how I'm doing in relation to God... Am I responding as I should?

You see, examining how well one listens and responds to God is not just a skill for religious life. It's what the Christian journey is all about... what is God telling me and how should I respond?

However, what makes vowed religious life a little different is that we are a community - a province - a congregation - seeking to respond to God as a whole... for the benefit of the common good and of the world. I am no longer an individual seeking God's will... I'm a part of a group. That's a completely new dynamic for me.

I think that's one of the more challenging changes for me since entering religious life. I'm learning a new way of thinking about myself and about responding to God. No person, really, exists in isolation and I've always known that. However, now the reality is that what "I" do or don't do causes or could cause a bigger effect on many people. I'm not sure yet how to articulate that, but that's one of the things I'm sorting through these days.

And it all has to do with obedience. Who knew? *smile*

Many blessings to all who read this!

Sr. N