There it is. That familiar sting that says “not you.” I sat down with my Magnificat book, my fiancé just across the room, for our daily time of prayer. I opened the Magnificat to the day’s readings, and there I saw the Gospel passage I’ve been battling with the Lord over for the past year and half since leaving the convent:
“‘We have given up everything and followed you. What will there be for us?’ Jesus said to them… ‘And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life.'”
And just like that, I feel the sting again. That all-too-familiar twinge that whispers, “You tried, but you failed. You could’ve been the one to give up everything, but now you’re not. You can’t get that hundredfold.” I sit there, angry and confused, ready to throw the book to the floor and end my prayer time right then and there. But I don’t. Instead, I find myself like the apostles, asking Jesus, “What will there be for me?” Perhaps you too, dear sister, have found yourself asking that question time and again, “What is there for me now?” And perhaps, if you’re anything like me, you too have been disappointed by God’s apparent silence, left wondering what the heck “God’s will” even means anymore or if you’ll ever move past the pain or be able to trust God again.
Well, back in my prayer corner, I found myself spiraling into that rabbit hole again. But then the Lord gently reminded me of the last time I had this battle with Him, and the words He spoke to me then, and continues to speak to my heart. You see, sister, the Lord sees that you and I, we gave up everything- our families, our homes, our friends, careers, etc.- when He asked it of us. He does not disregard that sacrifice just because we left the convent. He also recognizes that even though He has given some of those things back to us, we also sacrificed much in leaving. For me, that was leaving behind a community of sisters I deeply loved and cared for, giving up the life that I thought and dreamed I would live for the rest of my life, and then having to endure the many hardships that befell me in the months following my departure- an unsupportive pastor, the loss of friendships, and the unexpected loss of my job. I cannot tell you how many times I cried out in pain, “God, what now? There’s nothing left for me!” I thought of that pain, but then Jesus also reminded me of the good things He has given to me since I left.
I know that often it’s so hard to see the good things or see how certain Scripture passages still apply to us. But, sister, do not think that this Gospel passage no longer applies to you. In some ways, it might apply even more now in the “post-convent” reality. The Lord sees and understands the great sacrifices you made to follow Him into religious life, as well as the sacrifices made and sufferings endured in leaving the religious life. He sees those sacrifices, and holds them in His heart, and listens when you cry out to Him once again, “What is there for me?” Hold on to your hope, my dear sister, and don’t give up. That hundredfold is for us, too.