In his homily during his inaugural Mass, Our Holy Father,
Pope Benedict says:
“Only when God is seen does life truly begin. Only when we meet
the living God in Christ do we know what life is. We are not some casual
and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a
thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us
is necessary. There is nothing more beautiful than to be surprised by
the Gospel, by the encounter with Christ. There is nothing more beautiful
than to know Him and to speak to others of our friendship with Him……..
It is beautiful and wonderful, because it is truly a service to joy,
to God’s joy, which longs to break into the world.”
Not only is our call to “being” willed by Our loving Creator,
every moment of our stay on earth is tenderly and joyfully foreseen
and planned by Him.
“The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it
makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So
it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit” (Jn 3:8). God is
Master of His gifts, and in His infinite wisdom, He has a unique plan
for each member of the human race. “Think of the love the Father
has lavished on us, by letting us be called God’s children, and
that is what we are” (Jn 3:1). It is vitally important for everyone
to discover what role, what service to humanity, God has marked out
for each one.
“If, by Divine inspiration, someone comes to us desiring to accept
this life…"(RlCl 2:1.)
St. Clare has it right. A call to become a Poor Clare is not a bright
idea we ourselves come up with. It must be a “Divine inspiration”.
Each vocation is a completely new creation. God has His own loving way
of speaking to hearts and His infallible Providence can always be trusted.
St. Clare has the greatest reverence for those enquiring about a vocation,
but would not depend solely on their discernment. Dialogue and many
other factors are employed to discover what the Spirit is really saying.
There are various responses to Our Lord’s gracious call. Think
of Levi (Lk 5:27), almost recklessly throwing a great feast in honour
of Jesus, so ecstatic was he at his great fortune in being chosen–called
by Jesus, Who no doubt had the time of His life at the said party! Jesus
was at ease with Levi and his friends.
Contrast Levi with the rich young man, in Mark 10:17. His was a totally
certain call too. Jesus in Person invited him, but he went away sad,
and must have remained so. What a tragedy! Poor “rich” man!
Levi trusted the spontaneous intuition of his heart and magnanimously
embraced the invitation of Jesus. His was the proverbial: Love at first
sight -- such was the impact of his encounter with Jesus. God’s
joy broke into his life, and through him to others. By his refusal to
answer the call, the un-named rich young man, blocked the flow of God’s
Jesus would never stoop to coercing anyone and never will. He has entrusted
each of us with free will and utterly respects His gift. If we trustingly
amalgamate our freedom and our whole life with His Providence, then
we simply CANNOT go wrong. The choice to accept or refuse is ours. What
a responsibility! Yes, but: “With God we shall do bravely”
“Trust in God still, and trust in Me”(Jn 14:1b).
Come and hear all who fear God,
I will tell what He did for my soul. Psalm 65.
A sister in St. Damian’s recalls
some of the stages of her vocation journey
Sometime during my teens, the booklet: “The Secret of Mary”,
by St. Louis de Montfort, I believe came into my hands – how,
I can in no way recall, but I will be eternally grateful for that grace.
The message of that little gem spoke to my whole being.
Under God, I know I owe it entirely to Our Blessed Lady that I arrived
safely where I can best encounter God and be His co-worker (3 LtCl.
8) in the vast field of souls. It may appear to be a life apart from
the world, but the purpose is to be part of the entire world, of all
from Adam to the last person to grace our planet.
The choice of Religious Life was an option I sometimes considered as
I grew up. At times it seemed attractive but mostly my reaction was:
no way! As my days in secondary school drew to a close, I felt the need
to get a sense of direction for the rest of my life. After much prayer
and reflection, listening to advice, and the example of friends, I opted
for Religious Life. Step 1 was taken!
When I broke the news to my widowed father, he was shattered. How could
I, the very apple of his eye, do such a thing to him? I thought of deferring
the consideration of religious Life but gradually realized it was "now
or never"! Indeed he himself, my Dad, and many neighbours, thought
it significant, that he had acted the part of the Little Flower’s
father in a play, some years previously. In retrospect, I can see countless
incidents which manifested the hand of God leading me to my goal. The
priests who gave our retreats in my final year in school, spoke eloquently
and enthusiastically about Poor Clares, an Order which had never been
mentioned in previous retreats.
On one occasion it seemed as if I experienced my entire life in an instant.
I knew indeed that “Our life is over like a sigh”, (Psalm
88). It was like being on a very far distant shore, looking back on
my life. What would I then want to have done with it? For me, the only
answer was to become a Poor Clare. Step 2 was clear.
The next dilemma was: where? I knew of three monasteries but my heart
was set on Dublin. After several enquiries, I thought there musn't be
a Poor Clare monastery in Dublin, so I began to correspond with the
monastery nearest home. Subsequently I discovered that the sisters there
were saying a Rosary for me each day. God’s providence was again
at work. Thank you indeed, Sisters. I really needed all those prayers!
I am most indebted to you and am grateful. Eventually one of my sisters,
through work and Legion meetings, discovered the Dublin monastery and
made an appointment for me. In due course I was accepted and found my
niche in life. Eternity will not be too long, to express my gratitude
to God. I firmly believe the call is not just to an Order, but also
to a specific house of the Order. In His wisdom, He directed me to it.
I assure you the hundredfold promised by Jesus, (Mt 19:29) is no fallacy.
Before I was too long here, I felt totally healed of the pain of my
mother’s death, eight years earlier. What a relief! I felt as
if it was all given back. I was also aware of a growing sense of calm
and contentment, which are with me to this day - a taste of the hidden
At one of our family visits, my Dad and sister told me they felt Jesus
Himself had taken my place in the home. On another occasion, Dad told
me privately that he could not be better off, than he was, with the
sister who stayed with, and looked after him. This was music in my ears!
It was always a great joy to hear that relatives and friends were happy
in their vocation in life. As they were especially in my prayers, I
felt it was confirmation of St. Colette’s assertion, that if we
do God’s will, He will do ours (Testament). St. John of the Cross
tells us that the greatest service we can render anyone, is to offer
them to God in Contemplative prayer. How true!
“Among the many gifts that we have received and daily continue
to receive from our Benefactor, the Father of mercies (2Cor 1:3), and
for which we must express the deepest thanks to the glorious Father
of Christ, outstanding, indeed, is our vocation (TestCl.2).
I look forward to Heaven for many reasons, not least, to finding out,
how “The Secret of Mary” came into my possession.
Come and hear all who fear God,
I will tell what He did for my soul. (Psalm 65.)