Following on from the story of Sr Tina who wrote about her 22nd anniversary as a religious, we now read about Sr Cielo’s 20th anniversary as a religious, also celebrated on 08 December 2016.
Are you being proposed to with these wonderful, powerful words?:
….Follow me….marry me?
Perhaps we have experienced these words that both offer us a way to live a deeper meaning of love, commitment, responsibility, sincerity and fidelity. These words are a good musical sound to one’s ears and they are a delight within one’s heart that make a person feel awe and wonder. They give inspiration and a deep joy to one’s self. These proposals are meant for a lifetime…. for marriage it is “until death do us part”.
“Follow me” are the divine words of Jesus’ invitation, calling us to Himself, to those who want to be one of His disciples. Following Jesus does not necessarily require you to have a very high standard of qualifications, a good status quo in life, a very high IQ, or that you need to be a very, very good person. Following Him is answering His call with a trustful, humble and docile heart for doing the divine will that is accompanied by constant prayer to nurture the little faith that a person has.
While marriage is a human proposal, it is a common calling that many have responded to, to be with the other whom he/she wants to live with for the rest of his/her life: in sickness, health, happiness, success and sufferings that one may encounter in life. The call to “follow me” is a divine proposal of Jesus and the “marry me” is a human proposal. Both proposals are grounded and founded in, above all, love. Both are to be responded to with a lifetime commitment, no matter what may happen along the journey. They can have the same degree of feelings of love and joy to the person who receives these words.
This year I am journeying through my 20th anniversary of religious life. Following Jesus is still significant to me. It is an everyday renewal of my commitment and a journeying with faith that keeps me responding and believing that He chose me. He is the One, the greatest love of my life. In the depths of my heart, a tiny voice is continuously calling me to be with Him. From day to day He shows me the way, the truth and the life and this continues to form my heart and my very being.
In life, I have often had to face challenging choices. Once upon a time there was somebody who proposed to me for marriage. It was an uncomfortable situation. On the one hand, I deeply felt happy, believed and flattered that I was being loved and cared by God. On the other hand, I could not deny my feelings that I liked this guy too. Those words “….Follow me….marry me” – I felt wowed, excited and inspired. In the two different situations and experiences, I saw myself as being loved, beautiful, and precious. One thing I am sure of, however, is that I never doubted the first YES to the vocation that I finally answered. Here I am today, still in awe and wonder, as I continue to follow God. I pray and pray for a daily perseverance, and I continue to see and experience that God loves me. I am thankful for His love and care.
While I am aware that my 20 years of being a religious have been years that I have journeyed in faith with God, these are not a guarantee that the years ahead will not be shaken by some situations when it comes to fidelity, service and commitment. I do still humbly pray for my daily perseverance to God. He is the ever faithful one, He is my perfection. With the eyes of faith I see His mercy, love and compassion for me that gives me inspiration to continue my journey with Him. He chooses me, an unworthy creature of His love and, happy me, He claims me to be His very own. This makes a big difference as He is the source of my strength and inspiration. To be with Him is the joy of my heart.
I celebrate my 20th anniversary with a grateful heart for His mercy and compassion that I am still here. His love endures forever as the source of my weak strength. The Blessed Virgin Mary is the inspiration of my following God and how she lived her “Fiat” with responsibility, fidelity and a great joy in her heart that makes the salvation of humankind possible.