The appointed day, 24 May 2013, was my big day, for it was my fifth Renewal of Vows in this Institute. The King of Love and Life, never for a second, doubted nor left my side since my first consecration, despite all my limitations.
With my batchmate Sr. Ailen Felia and Sr. Jocelyn Kias, we renewed our Vows in the St. Annibale Chapel, Marikina. Sr. Corazon Sacmar (my other batch mate) renewed hers in Australia. The guest Priest, Fr. Edwin (from NOLP) gave a touching but real reflection regarding the uniqueness of our journey. Odd even was the Gospel which talked about “marriages and divorce” to coincide with our day, yet it became an opportunity for us to ponder upon. As Fr. Edwin had narrated that man was created for the woman and vice versa, who will marry at the right moment, so our lives, as Religious, Priests, Sisters and Consecrated Lay is something, not contrary but “exceptional” in the eyes of mankind and of the world. “Exceptional” because sometimes it can be coined as “abnormal” in the nature of the created reality.
Yes, pondering on my journey for years now, what makes it different is the fact that, though our lives and chances to own, to command, to enjoy things and people are renounced, it is NOT done in exchange for nothing. It is renounced because a higher value, better or superior things are preferred. And our YES, before it becomes perpetually uttered, embraced and signed, has to be renewed, deeply discerned and contemplated. Vocation is still budding, at least in our country, but is already waning in so many countries, too. I could never boast of the few years that I’ve lived in the Religious life so that those Sisters who had celebrated their Silver Jubilee only edified me. Truly, as how Fr. Edwin phrased it, our life here is never “contractual”, for it is not yearly but an everyday fidelity (he jokingly used the word “contractual” for he saw us signing our Vows after pronouncing it). Yes, it is a timely reminder for all of us, not only for us who renewed it, but also even to those Lay people present that time. It is a challenge posed for all Christians, Disciples of Christ, to live a life in accordance to His will and pleasure. It’s never easy but neither is it impossible. I am sure of that. God’s graces always abide as long as we entrust to Him our “little and short voyage” on this earth. For what are we here for anyway, but only that we all long for the heavenly Fatherland one day?
Sr M Jeanette Barsanas, fdz