For Love.

Last week, I was flat-out sick.  For me, this was no ordinary head cold.  I have new-found empathy for those that suffer with sinus issues.  I’ve never really had sinus troubles, but this cold caused some terrible sinus pain – enough to make my teeth and jaw hurt for a week.  I still have some symptoms and pain, but, thanks be to God, I am getting to where I can work and think again.

Normally, being essentially out of commission for over a week would cause me some anxiety: who will cover my desk at work if I’m out?  There’s so little time left to fundraise for vocations, will I get even further behind?  It’s just a cold and I don’t want to be a burden on anyone, but I just don’t have the energy to take care of simple things right now…  In other words, I thought too much of myself and tried to be too independent.  I’d wind up alone, sick, and miserable.  This time was different.

I was once again reminded of God’s loving care for us and of St. Paul’s teaching on the body of Christ on two levels.  First, though the illness was mostly affecting my head, my entire body had to compensate and support the healing process.  Extra rest and liquids were essential.  Energy was diverted from less essential functions to be available to fight the virus.  At the same time, the body of Christ was made visible by my family and friends checking in with thoughtful words, remembering me in prayers, and providing meals and other little things so I could get the rest I needed.  And I spent much of my time in prayer and offering up my little sufferings for my family, friends, and others. 

“It is not good for man to be alone.”  It is not good for woman either.  We were made for love, and that means we were made to be in family, in community.  So why, then, do I feel so strongly called to the cloistered life?  Wouldn’t that be running away from the world and closing myself off from its troubles?  On the contrary.  Pope Francis, in an address to the cloistered nuns at the Basilica of St. Clare described the calling of a cloistered nun as a calling to “great humanity”:

When a cloistered nun consecrates her life to the Lord, a transformation occurs that we do not usually understand. Normally we assume that this nun becomes isolated, along with the Absolute, alone with God; it is an ascetic, penitent life. But this is not the path of a Catholic or indeed Christian cloistered nun. The path always passes via Jesus Christ. Jesus is the centre of your life, of your penance, of your community life, of your prayer, and also of the universality of prayer. And therefore, what happens is contrary to what we imagine of an ascetic cloistered nun. When she follows the path of contemplation of Jesus Christ, the path of prayer and penance with Jesus Christ, she becomes greatly human. Cloistered nuns are called upon to have great humanity, a humanity like that of the Mother Church; to be human, to understand all aspects of life, to be able to understand human problems, to know how to forgive and to pray to the Lord for others.

***

…This is why it is so good when people attend the visiting room of a monastery, asking for prayers and talking about their problems. Perhaps the nun does not say anything extraordinary, but her word is inspired by her contemplation of Jesus Christ, because the nun, like the Church, is on a path to becoming an expert in humanity….  And this is what the Church wants you to be: mothers. … To give life.

My visit last month to my community at Corpus Christi Monastery reinvigorated my conviction that God is calling me to this life: to bring Christ to people by bringing them to Him in prayer.  To love others and bring life to the world as a cloistered nun, carrying others in my heart as a spiritual mother is what I believe God created me to do, who He created me to be.  As one of the sisters commented during my visit, “Your heart is here, we just need to get the rest of you inside!”  I am so grateful for the women in this community to which I am called, for their prayers, example, loving patience, guidance and support.

Will you join with us?  You have an opportunity to support vocations, like mine, by making a tax-deductible donation to The Labouré Society and inviting others to do the same.  Please help us reach our fundraising goal and deliver more vocations to Jesus and the Church.  For love.

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