31 May 2006: Year of the Jubilee. This was a great year not only for the Church but also for me personally. After being under formation for six years as a temporary professed sister, I finally publicly declared my YES to God’s invitation to belong to him as a religious. “When I fall in love it will be forever, or I’ll never fall in love…” I sang to the Lord. It was all or nothing for me, black or white, no in-betweens, no half-measures. So with all the fervour of my youthful heart, with all the idealism that charactises one’s youthful years, with generosity, conviction and zeal, I professed the evangelical counsels: I would be poor, chaste and obedient like Christ and fulfil his command – Rogate.
When I was neo-professed sister, I was full of enthusiasm in following the Lord. Even if he would ask me to give my life right there and then, I would do everything for him. But with the passing of years, with each Renewal of Vows that I made, I realised that I was too full of myself in following the Lord. I forgot the essential thing: it was Jesus that I was following – not myself, not my own agenda, not my own concept of the sequela, not my own will. He was the one who was supposed to lead me. Every year I was led to confront who this Gladys was whom the Lord had called to follow him. The Lord made me see my frailties, my stubbornness, my pride and all my self-seeking. With every Renewal of Vows that I made, I was telling the Lord, “I have nothing to give but my weaknesses.” Year after year, the Lord was stripping away my securities, my self-sufficiency, my attachments. “Look at me,” he would tell me often.
31 May 2006: Feast of the Visitation. The day of my Perpetual Vows. Figlia mia cara, ascoltami… I felt God’s love all around. Truly, I felt that I was and still am God’s beloved. I looked to him and saw my nothingness, my sinfulness, my unworthiness. But in His eyes, I saw HIS GREAT LOVE!
It was celebration of God’s fidelity, of his mercy and compassion. In the persons who attended the occasion, I felt surrounded by the warmth of his love. Jesus took my hand, drew me to his heart and said, “You are mine forever.”
With the Blessed Mother, I sang, “The Almighty has done great things for me… He has looked with favour upon His lowly servant.” Forever I will sing of his great love!
Sr M Gladys Manual fdz
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