Sunday, March 22, 2009

"How Did He Open Your Eyes?"

The Gospel reading for today really struck a chord with me. (We used the "Year A" option, for there were Catechumens and Candidates with us.) The reading was John 9:1-41, the healing of the man blind from birth.

The part that caught my attention especially was when the Pharisees were questioning the healed man about how he was healed, doubting his answers and asking him repeatedly. They ask, "How did he open your eyes?"

I find myself asked often "How did you decide to enter a religious order?"

I can relate to the answer of the healed man (one of several answers he has to give the persistent Pharisees): "One thing I know is that I was blind and now I see."

How did I decide to enter a religious order? I don't really know. I just know that one day Jesus opened my eyes to see that this is the path he wishes me to take. In a lot of ways, I don't see it as my decision at all, even though (of course) I did freely choose it, and I know I am free to choose another path.

I can give all sorts of little answers to the question--about how I'm a theologian, so Catholicism is really important to me; that I have a desire to grow spiritually and to serve others; that I am attracted to this particular group of sisters because of their combination of contemplation and apostolic ministry, as well as their educational focus....

But none of these answers is nearly as strong in my mind as that gentle tug that I feel from Jesus to love Him with my whole being, and to give myself to this way of living Love.

Monday, March 16, 2009

So Much to Do

I feel like I've been neglecting this humble blog! It's certainly not intentional, but there just seems to be so much that must get done!

That said, all is well. My spiritual director spoke with me about contentment this week. He has great reflections on that word, and I hope he writes about it soon. We talked about how being content with your life (with all the content of your world, self, mind, etc) makes everything seem right, and enables you to follow God's call.

I realized that I am quite content. Yes, there is a lot to do. Yes, my world is changing very drastically, and very soon. But I'm content. I like what's going on, and I know God is with me, leading me on this mysterious journey. I'm happy, but it's that happiness of contentment--of satisfaction with my life and world.

On another note, I've been receiving some wonderful email notes from sisters who've heard that I will be entering the Society. They are often words of encouragement and joy. Most have a few words of advice. The best message I've received is a reminder that God is always faithful, and that if I trust in God, all will be well.

I'm content, happy!

Image from

Sunday, March 1, 2009

So, what's next?

Things are starting to settle down from my big YES that you can read about in the last post.

So it's time to ask, what happens now?

For now, I stay where I am until the summer. I will move at the beginning of August. For a year, I will be in what's called "Candidacy," which is what used to be called "postulancy" (and still is in some religious orders). I will live in a house with a community of sisters and work full time in a ministry that's consistent with the mission of the Society.

For me, that means teaching in a university. For other people who enter religious life, their work has to change--and sometimes it changes very dramatically. In my case, I already teach theology at a Catholic institution, so what I do is already consistent with religious life. In the future, my ministry might change, but for now this is where I'm being called.

There are also many variations on housing in today's religious orders. The Society of the Sacred Heart usually lives in smaller communities of 4-7 sisters. Their houses are normal houses in normal neighborhoods. I really like this way of living (at least as an outsider looking in!). It includes shared responsibilities and space, but it seems a little more intimate than a big convent might be. I know that community life will be a challenge for me--I've lived alone for a long time--but I'm looking forward to it.

That's all for now!