Trust in Him

Thursday, April 29, 2010

God Calls

You have not chosen me: but I have chosen you;
and have appointed you, that you should go, and should bring forth fruit;
and your fruit should remain: that whatsoever you shall ask of the Father in my name,
he may give it you.

Jesus Himself chooses the vocation to which He will call a soul. He has known us from the beginning of time, and He knows what will fulfill us, and what work we are created to do. Therefore He offers us each the special grace to perform the task He has set before us. This grace gives us the strength to take up the Cross and serve Him. Because we are all meant to live forever with God in heaven, in perfect love, and it is in our very nature to serve Him... every vocation must focus on Jesus Christ.

The vocation of a religious is specially focused on Jesus in a unique way. She does not seek emotional and mystical experiences, but rather takes up the burdens of trials and darkness for His sake and for the sake of His children. She does not see the results of her labors, nor can she measure the growth of her own holiness. She does not presume that her poor efforts are helpful to the Almighty or to others, but has faith in His mercy and pity and acknowledges that He, Who is so good, will not spurn her efforts but use them for the good of others.

A cloistered religious does not take pride in her prayers and sufferings. To her, everything that happens to her, and everything she does, is of little account. However, she has a faith in Jesus' willingness to share the merits of His death so sincere that it gives her cause to hope that all she does and endures, if united with His sufferings, is of great value for the salvation of others.

The religious does not sip often from the cup of eternal life. Indeed, the holier she becomes the greater trials she seems to endure, and the less consolation she seems to receive. The poverty of a religious does not simply refer to her lack of possessions and worldly luxuries, it infers poverty of the spirit also. St. Therese of the Child Jesus is a very good example of this poverty. She longed to serve God in every way... as teacher, missionary, and martyr... she wanted to die every death for love of Him, so greatly was she moved to folly by this love. But, she realized her poverty of inability to rise to the great heights of saint and missionary. She realized her poverty in her utter helplessness in showing God even a portion of the love she had for Him.

The humility of a religious extends even farther than acknowledging her own sinfulness and helplessness, however. God does not permit her to wallow in her childishness, but rather calls her to great heights of holiness and service. He demands that she trust Him so thoroughly that she is willing even to be great for His sake. The utter abandonment of body and spirit vowed by poverty is a promise to accept what God chooses to give, be it good or bad. This is fitting, for who is a religious to deny the chalice that God puts before her lips, be it bitter or sweet, when it is offered from His own hands, pierced for her salvation?

Indeed, the vocation of a religious is to give God everything. It is a supreme contradiction... for in giving her nothingness and receiving His everything, in the way I have just described, she is given the grace to give back to Him all that He has given to her. The cloister is the summit of a religious' sacrifice, and by thus abandoning herself, and her weakness, into His hands... she lives solely in the faith that He will use her every action, offered in love for Him, to do for others what she cannot. It is a sweet life, rooted in love, that begs the heart of a woman to be joyful in her love of God through all times of happiness and suffering.

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