“Take, O Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will. Whatever I have or hold Thou has given me; I restore it all to Thee, and surrender it wholly to be governed by Thy will. Give me only Thy love and Thy grace, and I am rich enough to ask for nothing more.”
—St. Ignatius of Loyola
On entering a convent, you surrender your life to God. On leaving a convent, even more so, you surrender your will as well. All of your plans, your desires, your hopes, your dreams, your struggles, your perseverance: these now seem completely pointless. You wonder if they meant anything at all.
The truth is: THEY DO!!!
What dearer things to your heart do you have to offer your Beloved than these? Only your will is fully yours; surrender that, and we have given Him everything!
It is hard to imagine that we could be happy while following a path that is different than what we originally wanted. But His path (this “road to Calvary” really), is your path to holiness, to Union with Him, which was the whole purpose of your having entered Religious Life in the first place!
What is Religious Life if not a gradual surrendering of our will in order to become conformed to His, and thus enter into complete union with Him? When He called you out of the convent, He desired to quicken that process. He did not wish to wait any longer to possess you entirely. Therefore, you are still called to this union; you are still called to give yourself entirely to Him; you are still His beloved Bride!
Now you have given Him your memories, understanding, your time, your work, your obedience, poverty, and chastity, your religious family, customs, and life: wait and see what He does with them, because He was the one who had given them to you for a time. You’ve grown, you’ve loved, you’ve surrendered; this is the image of His life on earth.
You are not as far as you think from living in a perfect imitation of Jesus’ life, which is the true “Religious Life.”
One word I must speak to You tonight,
In it is summed up in my heart’s prayer.
In it is my sorrow, joy, desires, love,
Gifts, pleasures, temptations, illness;
Ah, Jesus, everything!
I will not moan or groan at Your Hand,
Only Your will, my Jesus, is my own.
I have nothing to give, I am empty.
So take my whole soul, my yes,