It’s a strange feeling when God takes every thread of your life and weaves them into a beautiful, unexpected tapestry. I used to think I would only be able to see this tapestry after the Lord took me home. Yet in the past year, I have been given a gift, a graced glance at a portion of my life that has finally taken form and no longer looks like just a mess of threads.
It all began with a wise elderly Sister of Charity whom I encountered at their motherhouse during my first vocation discernment period. I remember walking into her room during my undergraduate studies, nervous but bursting with joy in the knowledge that I truly had a religious vocation. I was there to help her with a few daily tasks. She did not say much, but I remember her saying one thing that changed my life forever: "You will have all the children of the world." Wow … what did that even mean? At the time, it was way too much to take in, but I never forgot that moment. Somehow . . . it marked me . . . in ways that I am just now beginning to understand.
That phrase spoke to me powerfully of one of the mysteries of religious life. When you are preparing to take the vow of chastity, it can seem daunting or limiting, but there was a little Sister who knew the secret of this life … love is not limited in our lives but expanded.
Because I will never have my own family, Christ is free to ask me to love, in prayer and in service, whoever He places in front of me. The time it would take to raise my own precious children is replaced by deep times of prayer for all God’s precious children. The love of a parent is true and strong and devoted to the children God has chosen them to steward. In religious life, we may not personally know the ones we pray for. We may never know the results of those prayers. Nonetheless, we know we are called, and we say yes time and time again.
My journey of religious vocation has taken many twists and turns since that day with the sweet Sister of Charity. I have since found my home in consecrated life in a secular institute. Every day, as I sit in my prayer room and pray for those I am privileged to serve through spiritual direction, I find myself joyfully praying for the next one. The next soul God will invite to write to me, ask me for prayer, or put in my path to love as Christ loved. With God, there is always a next one … my call is to make room for them … and my mission is to love them well.
This graced glance of this dream taking shape in my life is one of joy, one of consecration, one of service, one of mission, one of love, and one of offering my yes.
We are each called uniquely by God, whether it be marriage, singleness, or religious/consecrated life. Whatever path God has chosen for you, I pray you get these graced glances from time to time that firm up your resolve to say yes to love, to serve how God has uniquely called you, and that you give your yes and make continue to make room for the next one.
A Welcome for the Next One
If your heart is the next one that
comes to be companioned
I say He has gone before you.
If you bring heavy burdens
I say together we will listen.
If you come with curiosity
I say let us walk in wonder.
If you come with questions
I say let us seek.
No matter what your condition is
I say welcome.