The prophet Hosea reveals God as a faithful God, a God who is true to His promise in spite of His people’s unfaithfulness and a God whose love is so real and personal that is even expressed in human words. This is the same love story that I had with the Lord.
“I am going to allure her” (Hos. 2:16). This verse captured my attention as a young formand and inspired me along my formation journey. I felt being allured by God when at my youthful age He called me to follow Him in the Religious life. I felt His voice deep within my heart calling me and with the courage and the generosity of a young person, I left everything behind: the persons, things and places that were familiar to me and I ventured into the unknown. I didn’t know what awaited me. I was inexpert in many things. I had no credentials. But I was not able to resist His call, I followed Him and I allowed myself to be led by Him knowing that the He who calls me is faithful.
Before I embraced the Religious life 25 years ago, the voice of the Lord continued to echo in my heart “I will espouse you in faithfulness” (Hos. 2:22) This gave me an assurance and encouragement that whatever would happen, He would remain faithful to me. This continues to inspire me and guide me along my journey.
Looking back over the last 25 years, I can say that there were ups and downs, failures and successes in my life but they were meant to educate me and shape me into what I am now. Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Religious profession is none other than a celebration of God’s faithful love in my life. If I have reached this stage, it is not because of my own merit but because the Lord has given me the grace to persevere. He has given me the wings to fly as Fr. Alfonso, rcj expressed in his homily. The celebration of my silver anniversary is a reminder that I have to take care and to respond to the SILVER wings I have received as a response to the One who has called me:
- Self-giving – to continue to give myself to the One who has given Himself first. “There is no greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for the person whom you love”
- Intimacy – to be intimate with Jesus by putting Him at the centre of my life, to love Him with all my heart, mind and soul and to follow His will
- Listening – to listen to the voice of the Beloved that gives delight to my heart. I have always to connect with Jesus and to listen to Him in prayer
- Vigour – vigour or zeal for the interest of the One whom I love. His interests become my interests, His mission becomes my mission
- Eucharist – every day I have to receive Jesus in order to be united with Him and He alone can to satisfy my hunger
- Renewal – as I continue living my consecration, may my life be a constant renewal so that it may become a sign pointing others to Jesus, my Spouse
I thank the Lord for His faithful love to me in that moment of jubilation. My gratitude also goes to those who were God’s instruments for me to realize my vocation: to my family, particularly my parents, who were instruments for me to exist in this world; to my Religious family of the Daughters of Divine Zeal headed by our Mo. General, Mo. Teolinda Salemi; in particular to our delegation represented by Mo. Elna and her council; to my former formators and superiors who have formed me; to all the missionaries here in Vietnam who are my co-journeyers; to all the con-celebrating priests: Fr. Rino, Fr. Resty, Fr. Gerry, Fr. Noel, Fr. Alfonso, Fr. Anselm, Fr. Tai Son, Fr. Felicks, Fr. Matthues and Fr. —– ; to the whole International Catholic Chaplaincy of Saigon headed by Mr. Winston Mayo, to the Filipino community in Vietnam headed by Mr. June Torres, to all our friends who support us with their material blessings and to all who were present during the celebration and have offered prayers for me, thank you very much. Words are not enough to express my gratitude but rest assured of my prayers.
Sr Marivella Condez, fdz