“The Lord will fight for you; you have only to keep still.” Exodus 14:14
Praised be Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, now and forever. Amen. These past few weeks have been quite a rollercoaster. On August 14, Sr. April Marie Josefina (we received permission to add a saint name to our baptismal name) and I made our first profession of vows. It was a beautiful evening where I truly felt the love and prayers of the family God has given me. I am still adjusting to the black veil, the added name, and all the new adventures!
You are probably familiar with the saying, “When you make plans, God laughs.” This is still very true in religious life. Two other Sisters and me had plans of being in our new location in Jacksonville, FL this past weekend…but Hurricane Irma decided to go to FL first. Long story short, we are in a waiting period. I have and am learning a lot in the waiting.
First, in all honesty, I am struggling in the waiting! Not having a specific, consistent apostolate and with every day being so different, I have felt all over the place. Yet, deep down, I know that this is where God wants me––in the struggle. In the midst of this, Jesus’ Sacred Heart also keeps coming up in prayer. Ironically, the parish and school where we are going to in FL is named after the Sacred Heart. Instead of avoiding this struggle, I have been bringing it up in prayer and questioning why His Heart keeps coming up.
Honest dialogue in prayer is something I have come to grow in. I tell God FROM my thoughts, feelings, and desires, and not just about them, as if they were separate from me. Having a background in counseling is helpful with identifying some of these things, but to enter into what is usually painful, takes a lot of courage. Thankfully we are not expected to do this alone! This is where we have to let God into our innermost being.
In prayer, then, I am being challenged to go deeper…in the waiting. This has been coming up for a while, and I figured that once I professed vows, that would be it! Not so much. Yes, professing vows was a huge step, but now He wants more. This desire of Jesus was confirmed by my spiritual director when he also challenged me to go deeper and to be immersed in the Trinity. Not long after that intense challenge, I reread an article that I really like and something really pierced me:
…God wants to enter and possess and abide within the core of our humanity. When we fall in love with the Crucified we receive what all lovers receive: the deepest reality of the beloved, the heart. The heart of Christ, astoundingly, is also shared with those who would rest against it. This heart is communication with the Father, and this communication is the Holy Spirit, and so in allowing Christ to see us, to behold us, to love us, we receive the Holy Trinity.
(article link: http://priestlyformation.org/site_files/PDFs/Faculty%20Articles/Deacon%20Keating/Keating-Falling-in-Love-and-Staying-in-Love.pdf )
To receive Jesus’ Heart, to be immersed in the Trinity, means that I must allow Jesus to SEE me, to BEHOLD me, to LOVE me…especially in the waiting. It is really only in letting Him truly love me that I am able to truly love others. Everything I “do” must and should flow from this constant communion of Heart speaking/listening to heart.
I will now close with some words of wisdom from my favorite saint, St Francis of Assisi:
“Hold back nothing of yourselves for yourselves, that He Who gives Himself totally to you may receive you totally!”
Please pray for me and my Sisters in this time of waiting! Know that I am praying for you too.
Sr. K.M.Chiara, HMSS