I may have already written in the past that I have been discerning about my vocation, praying for, and discovering what God has been calling me to do and how He wants me to spend my life and everything He has given. It has been written and said that our vocation is love: to love as our Lord Jesus Christ has commanded and has exemplified. But I found myself asking further, “how?”. How or in what specific ways do we do this?
There are so many ministries and communities that are doing apostolic works and services to the poor, the oppressed, and the underserved. Glory to God! They all are doing what Jesus does: loving, caring, sacrificing, sharing, etc. through different platforms, areas, populations, and means. They are all amazing! I want to do these all! But to be more effective and to have a deeper and more lasting impact, I knew I have to concentrate on doing one thing at a time. That doesn’t mean I am going to just limit myself to one particular type of service all-throughout my life.
The Choice above all the available options
So, I kept on asking the Lord, “in what specific ways can I serve You more? How can I give more of myself to You? How do You want me to use my time, talent, and treasure?”. I have been sensing the Lord’s call to the consecrated life ever since I started wondering what I would live for. And right now, I am about to enter that way of life as a religious.
I used to feel a bit uncomfortable with the term “religious” until I have grown to understand its original intent, meaning, and purpose. But the Lord challenges me to go beyond my biases, expectations, and even my preferences without being dismissive or invalidating.
So, I had been in communication with quite a few religious congregations as I sought to deepen my vocation discernment. As I go through this process, I get to learn more about this type of life (religious life as compared to single-blessedness and marriage). I came to understand that there are different types of orders: apostolic or active, contemplative, active-contemplative, missionary, contemplative-missionary, and maybe a few more out there that I haven’t explored just yet. The apostolic/active order alone is broad and complex as there have been so many needs and various ministries and ways to serve and meet these needs.
I have this tendency to get overwhelmed and become almost paralyzed when having so many choices to choose from. There are other ways of life, ways to serve the Lord. And once I have chosen to heed the call to religious life, there are so many types of congregations and communities out there. But as I juggle all these options, Jesus has only one persistent message: “just Choose Me”. The Lord has always been the One who had chosen His people. And He is inviting us to respond and live in love.
Indeed, when I choose Him–to focus on Him, all the rest becomes secondary. The ‘when’, ‘where’, and ‘how’, all the other details…
All In and All Out
On the third week of February this year, I did a three-day Vocation Discernment Retreat at Our Lady of Chartres Convent of St. Paul of Chartres congregation where I was reminded time and again to bring my focus back and keep it on Jesus. I was given the opportunity to quiet down all the unnecessary noise and to listen to the voice of my God.
During this quite short but efficiently-spent time with the Lord, I was encouraged to look back at my life story and recall those moments of grace with God; all those times when the Lord has given me subtle but clear signs of His call; all my heart’s quiet prayers that He answered; and those instances where He confirmed His call through situations and experiences in which His hand was persistently and faithfully at work.
I was also able to talk to God about my fears and worries, everything that has been causing me to hold back from giving my whole self and offering my whole life to Him in loving service. I believe He was able to address my concerns in such a gentle and loving way that only He can do. And this encounter with Him led me to finally and wholeheartedly say “Yes!” to Him, the Lover, Savior, and Lord of my soul.
Walking in, with, and through Love
When I told the Vocation Directress that I have decided to apply to their congregation, I was warmly welcomed and encouraged to go through the application process, one step at a time. As she told me what I need to do, I was quietly trying to assess how I was feeling at that moment, and to my surprise, I did not feel any pressure or reluctance. I felt that I was willing to go through every step of the process because I know that the Lord is walking with me and I am walking with Him.
He is the one who enables me to be patient especially when the tasks may seem mundane or tedious; to be true whenever my genuineness is challenged; to have enough strength and endurance when I feel like giving up;; to see the purpose of things and situations, and to see the beauty and worth of people and all His creation.
And this is how I know and trust that He is going to be like this–loving, faithful, and consistent–for the rest of my journey.
I will follow him
On the 6th of June 2022, the next chapter of my life begins. I pray that I may persevere and continue to discern wholeheartedly and humbly; that I may love the Lord with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my mind, and with all my strength; that I may serve lovingly and faithfully, without pride, reluctance, or resistance. Kindly pray for and with me.
I am signing off for now, but rest assured that I will be praying for all of you.
God bless you.
P. S. Regarding my book, “Let There Be Love”, if you are interested, you may check out my Facebook page, www.facebook.com/bloomandgrow33 for more information. Thank you for your support!
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