Hearing the announcement from Pope Francis that 2015 will be a year dedicated to consecrated life initially left me with mixed emotions. Obviously, this will be a great grace for the Church. It will be beautiful to pray for those in the consecrated life and it will create more awareness about consecrated life. And I am confident that my former sisters are very excited!
However, I can’t help but feel a little left out. You see, a few years ago I was in the convent going about my normal Monday when I was called into my superior’s office. To my great surprise I was asked to leave the community. And even though it’s been a few years, my heart is still confused by this. Initially, it seemed that hearing about this
special year reopened those wounds.
And yet, I don’t believe that is the entirety of what is going on in my heart…
Jesus always calls us to greater healing and wholeness. Yes, hearing this announcement did stir up feelings and emotions. But this “stirring” in my heart is also a beautiful opportunity to let God into those hurts and receive more healing. In these moments, when I feel left out and when my life feels meaningless, I have to reach out in faith. When I have the courage to let God be the only thing that I possess He fills my heart with the knowledge that I belong to Him.
He is enough for me.
Now I look back and see how much I have grown and healed. This announcement is not so much salt in a wound but rather a reminder of the healing balm the Lord has placed in those wounds.
How about you? How does this announcement make you feel? God bless!
I may or may not have rolled my eyes a little in church today when it was mentioned and made a mental note to ignore/avoid it as much as possible. Yep, consecrated life is great. At this point it feels like salt in the wound, but I’m trying to be open to the healing…
Prayers for you!! And please pray for me, too!
I have to admit to having felt a similar twinge upon hearing about the Year for Consecrated Life… but your blog title is actually really helpful in shaping my more considered, willed response as opposed to that initial knee-jerk.
You see, I’ve found that it is very easy, when dealing with post-convent grief, to become highly introspective, and get lost in my own pain.
A year of “not me” is an invitation to go beyond myself… to let go of my preoccupation with my own suffering and to focus on reaching out to others and alleviating theirs. Isn’t that, after all, a large part of what all of us are called to? Life is STILL a school of love, outside the convent as much as inside.
Granted, all of this is an intellectual realisation at this stage. It’s another thing to truly live it!
Eternal Father, if this is what you ask of me, in this year of “not me”… accomplish in me what you command! I am firmly resolved to set out on less selfish year ahead than has been my last, seeking to ease the suffering of others at every opportunity, without care for my past hurts or for my future fears. You hold me in Your hand – I trust you. Be with me… Amen!
Yes, salt in the wound. I wondered at first what feelings I SHOULD have toward this year dedicated to Consecrated Life, because I was sad that I could not be a part of that in the same way (to celebrate it with those other dear consecrated that I lived with and loved). Yet, it strikes me that this can include us still for our hearts we have consecrated for God by simply making that first commitment to follow Him in religious life! Our little lives are consecrated as well because we are dedicated to “following the lamb wherever He goes” (we are those virgins and it doesn’t matter if we wear a veil for the world to see).
I found it interesting that you said, “…my heart is still confused by this…” about when you were asked to leave. I know that it is the same for me even though it has been a year and a 1/2 and I have become aware of many reasons why Our Lord led me out, I can still only think, “I did it for Him…there is no other reason.” It was in darkness but I knew He held my hand so there is peace about the confusion. We will most likely never know the entire reason (or many reasons) here on earth for, as big as God is, that is how many there could be! But in same mysterious way that He wounded us, He will heal us and we must trust that this loving Father still holds our hand!
Thank you for posting this. In all honesty, my zeal for religious life has hit rock bottom so the Year for Consecrated Life is not sounding too exciting. Of course, though, I have the choice to go into it with a negative attitude or a positive one. The negative attitude is easy, but the positive one is challenging and more pleasing to Our Lord.
I like what AfterEpiphany said in her post:
“A year of “not me” is an invitation to go beyond myself… to let go of my preoccupation with my own suffering and to focus on reaching out to others and alleviating theirs. ”
I am glad you brought up healing in your post, Mater Dolorosa. This year could be a beneficial one for healing. The more we allow ourselves to be healed, the more the Lord can work through us. You never know how He may use us broken vessels this year….