The End of the Story

Leaving the convent and returning to the world was quite the experience, to say the least.  Did you feel the same way?  I was in the convent, going about my day and then two days later I was in a car driving to my parents’ house.  My routine was suddenly turned upside down.

I certainly did not know where I was going or what my future would hold.  It was difficult to fight off the anxiety and fear.  Now what?  Where will I work?  Can I find a job?  What kind of job?  Do I have clothes?  Where can I live?  Once the immediate needs passed, other questions set in.  Do I have a vocation at all? Is there a plan?  Do I have a path?  Is my holiness in jeopardy now that I am back?  Does God still love me?

Though I have been back for a few years, the latter questions still periodically crop up in my mind.  As I am in the heat of the moment, feeling rather hopeless and confused about my future, nothing seems possible.  I am a weak sinner and ending up in Heaven seems basically impossible.  Oh, if only I were St. Teresa of Avila or St. Francis de Sales (for example), then I would be fine!

But recently I realized that they probably felt the same way at times.  When they were alive and struggling through life just like me, they had to feel confused, lost, unsure, etc. because they did not know what would happen in the future.  They did not know if they would end up in Heaven and they certainly did not know that they would be canonized by the Church!

But I know the end of their stories.  Therefore, it is easy to view the difficulties they experienced as being “no big deal.”

Yeah, St. Therese died from TB, but so what? She ended up in Heaven, so it’s fine.

St. John of the Cross was thrown in prison but he was holy so I am sure that was easy for him.

Bl. Margaret of Castello was abandoned by her parents, but she totally got over it.

Really? Do I really believe this? That these saints were not human at all and did not struggle? It is ridiculous, and yet I think I slip into this very easily. And more than that, I somehow think that what I am experiencing is so much worse! It’s rather funny, actually.

So what can I learn from this? Today is passing and tomorrow will come and surprise us all. What I am experiencing right now will not necessarily determine my future. Many studies show that envisioning what you want and how you will attain it increases the chances of it becoming a reality. This is not the case only for material wealth and worldly success. I need to picture myself in Heaven with God and imagine myself acting in ways that will get me there! When St. Thomas Aquinas was asked, “What does it take to become a saint?” He answered, “Will it.” Is that not the same thing? We have to be like little children and trust that the Father wants us to be eternally with Him in Heaven infinitely more than we want it for ourselves!

Finally, we need to have confidence that what Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel is TRUE:

Jesus said to his disciples:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled.

You have faith in God; have faith also in me.

In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.

If there were not,

would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?

And if I go and prepare a place for you,

I will come back again and take you to myself,

so that where I am you also may be.

Where I am going you know the way.”

John 14:1-4

 By Rosa Mystica



The first signs of spring have finally arrived and people are getting excited. In the Northern regions it is warmer and the snow is melting. We can see the ground again! But yet, it’s a rather ugly time if you really think about it.

For those of you who don’t live in places like this, let me explain. The snow melts and everything gets wet. Not a “fresh spring rain” kind of wet. Nope. Everything is muddy and messy. The sidewalks and streets have pools of water. The grass is brown and flat. The dead leaves from Autumn are clogging the drains in the street. What is left of the snow is black and brown and gross looking as it melts and uncovers all of the trash, old newspapers, pieces of the road, etc. hidden underneath. Animals killed on the highway and pushed off by the snowplows are suddenly lying out in the open. And all of this is half rotten because it has been slowly decomposing. I also forgot to mention that we had a few terrible ice storms this winter too. So all of the trees that fell down are still lying about because no one was really able to clean it up when it happened. Basically messy broken-ness is everywhere!

If you look at it with a critical eye, this is a terrible and unsightly scene.

And yet, most people are really happy about it!

Strangers in the elevator tell you how excited they are about the weather changing. The people you walk past seem to smile more and look hopeful. Your co-workers start making vacation plans. Kids can start playing outside with their bikes. It’s amazing!

Why do people react this way? It is irrational! Yet it makes perfect sense if you have hope and you know where this time of transition is leading us: summer!

God helped me realize today that this is very similar to what is going on in my soul, particularly during times of spiritual growth and transition. The more we attempt to follow Jesus and try to, “be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt 5:48), the more we see the vile and unpleasant parts of ourselves. It can be so discouraging! For that reason we need to keep the end goal in mind: perfect union with God in Heaven.

Satan loves to tempt us to despair when something revolting may be uncovered by Lent, changes in our life, etc. So what can we do to fight back? Sharing our struggles with a trusted friend and/or a spiritual director is always a good choice. Often they can have a more realistic perspective than the one experiencing the struggle. Another is to combat the lie with the truth. “Lord, I know it seems as though I am regressing spiritually. But help me to know that you are with me as I am being purified.”

Finally, try to think of the hope we feel during the transition from winter to spring. Though it can seem disgusting, we are heading to something beautiful. God bless you!

By Pinkie