Saturday, February 16, 2008

Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk... 
to a land that I will show you... 
Abram went as the Lord directed him.
Genesis 12: 1a, 4a
God has a way of getting a point across in my life that always makes me laugh. When God wants to let me know something, I seem to be bombarded with the same message in both subtle and obvious ways... through random conversations, prayer, Scripture, and circumstances. 

Allow me to explain.

Right now I am at an interesting point in formation. In our congregation when a person discerns that she would like to profess first vows, she writes a letter to our leadership team requesting approval. Now, when I first realized that a letter had to be written I really didn't think it was that big of a deal. "All I had to do" is put in writing that I would like to make vows. 

I don't know what I was thinking! *smile* 

The letter is due at the end of this month. And as I sat to write a draft (or just some thoughts) it occurred to me -  this is no small matter! Why am I asking for vows? Why do I believe it's the next step? Am I ready? What does this mean? Am I worthy? Why should the Sisters approve such a request?

All these questions have flooded my mind. Not because I doubt that God has called me to this step, but because I thought I had to justify it or prove it somehow. Silly me. That's when God started bombarding me with something. What's that? God's been saying, "TRUST ME!" 

It all started on Ash Wednesday. One of our founders, Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, created a systematic way for people to grow in holiness. It's called the "system of virtues." There are 14 total virtues/attitudes/dispositions that Fr. Chaminade believed would help a person grow. One of our Marianists priests, Fr. Joe Lackner, explains it this way: 

Like any system, there are logical components to Fr. Chaminade's method of growing in virtue. Like any system, it requires us to know the parts and to commit to engaging in the various elements. However, it is not a process of climbing a ladder - it is more like journeying on a complex path with many twists, turns, and crossovers. We will sometimes find ourselves traveling back over familiar ground, but with a new sense of the journey.

Anyway, our community here in Dayton decided that this Lent it would be a good idea for the community to revisit these virtues. We decided that each person would choose a virtue, read about it, pray with it and seek to grow in it during Lent. So, I typed up the list of virtues, cut them into strips, folded them and placed them in a bowl for people to pick. I picked my virtue the morning of Ash Wednesday. What did I pick? A virtue called, "confidence in God." Clue #1.

Then, last week I was talking with my spiritual director about the letter. He says to me, "God can be trusted in the unknown and the unseen and that's enough. In fact, that's all there is." Clue #2.

Now... the readings for the weekend... the reoccurring theme in the readings is "God can be trusted." Clue #3.

Everything is crying out to me, "Trust God, silly girl!" I don't have to understand... I don't have to know where the road is leading... I don't even have to "be good enough." It's all about trust.

And so... I approach the letter I'm writing with a completely different attitude. I don't have to prove that I'm worthy (because, truth be told, there's no way anyone fits that)... that I've learned enough or that I "fit" with this congregation. It's not about that. I'm asking to profess vows because I can trust God - God has called me to be here and I just have to respond "yes." And that's enough... in fact, that's all there is.

Many blessings to all who read this!
Sr. N

Monday, February 04, 2008

Some friendships do not last, 
but some friends are more loyal than family.
Based on Proverbs 18:24

In recent weeks I have been constantly awestruck by the way God works through the people in my life... and how truly blessed I am to have friends like mine. I have amazing friends... and I should not take them for granted.

Do you have people in your life who inspire you to be a better, more authentic person? Are there people around you who ask you how God is moving in your life or with whom you discuss your prayer life? Are there people who laugh with you when life gets absurd? Do you have people in your life who affirm who you are and yet do not lie to you about your faults?

I am blessed because those are all things that my friends do. And it's not that I hadn't realized it before, but in the past few weeks all of this has become apparent in a way that it hadn't before. For instance, one friend of mine and I talked for hours about God's call and our responses. Another few friends of mine inspire me with their faith... and call me to be better just by their very presence. 

God speaks in many ways. As I used to tell my students, "God speaks to us 24/7. We just need to pay attention." I guess you could say that lately I've been paying more attention... and God has spoken volumes to my heart... and it's always exactly what's needed.

So, to my friends who happen upon my blog every once in a while, thank you. Thank you for being an experience of God for me. My gratitude is more immense than I can put into words. Oh... and thank you for your infinite patience with me. 

Many blessings to all who read this!
Sr. N