In late October, I made my third order profession. I expected to feel energized, joyful, at peace, and a bit scared on that day. I felt all of those things. What I didn’t expect to feel is a profound inner freedom.
The days leading up to my profession, freedom was a theme in the daily Mass readings. But I thought freedom was too far from me -- not within reach. A distant hope.
I've heard religious women speak of the freedom they felt after they took that path in life, and they always reminded me that your vocation is the path that leads to your truest freedom. But I never expected to find that on the third order path. The third order felt like a lowly lay vocation that couldn't lead to that depth of freedom.
But as I took a walk later in the day following the profession and celebration afterwards, I thought to myself, I have never felt more free inside. How is this? Then sunshine streamed onto my face when the sun had been hidden all day long in dreary clouds.
I just professed to live the Gospel life more fully in the Franciscan spirit. I signed up to follow a defined Franciscan rule of life, be more closely united to Jesus, and bring Him into the world through the gifts and graces bestowed on me. How could that be freeing when it is bound to demand more and more of me?
And then I was reminded of Mary’s beautiful Magnificat after her own Fiat. That young woman sang of beautiful freedom and praise to her Creator after her “yes.” More sunshine streamed in at this insight.
That’s what a “yes” to God to bring Christ into the world does for us. It fills our hearts. Light starts streaming in.
This is the paradox of our faith. God’s will often seems binding. But it isn’t. It's freeing.
Here’s what I learned: Saying “yes” to God’s will is profoundly freeing. The Gospel life in its purest form is profoundly freeing. Being more united to Christ and consecrating ourselves to His service is profoundly freeing.
We come to freedom with our own Fiat.