This past week we explored the process of grief in the context of leaving the religious life. The final stage of grief, Acceptance, can seem a far way off when one is in the deep valley of anger, depression, or denial. Yet it does, and will come to all of us.
Today is Ascension Sunday, the day when Christ, in all His glory, is taken up to heaven to be with His Father. What a contrast to his prior exit from this earth – one of bloody defeat to one of triumphant victory.
Despite the contrast of Christ’s two exits from earth, one aspect remained – His wounds. Why did He keep them? Perhaps it is more than a symbol of what He did for us. Perhaps it is a lesson in suffering – that it has a purpose, that it shapes our identity and our mission in life. Our past wounds, Christ shows, are not to be hidden, but to be a sign of triumph and transformation.
The final stage of Acceptance is not forgetting about our loss, but embracing it as a part of who we are and who we are to become. It was said once that where our wounds are, there is our mission. How paradoxical that sounds. Yet, if you look around, you will find this truth.
By Wendy Macagno
Wendy has received her MA degree in Counseling Psychology from Regis University and her BA in Religious Studies from Benedictine College. She has served her community as a career coach in both the non profit and government sectors.
Often when I’m examining my faults, I will let the train of thought take me to the town called “Maybe That’s Why I was Called to Leave the Convent.” And before I know it, I’m recalling instances like that one worldly conversation I had with a sister; or the feeling of insecurity when trying to do the ‘right thing’; or the way I overreacted when the pot of soup boiled over; or my attachment to always winning at a game of cards…need I go on? Well, most of the time these thoughts lead me to further examination, which leads to either a vague feeling of enlightenment or the feeling of disappointment…in myself and in God.
Except for last night. I was lying in bed and started to think about how it seemed like I wasn’t able to embrace the present circumstances of my life. Again, that train took off: “That’s it!! I don’t think I embraced ‘The Life’ as ‘My Life’…”
And all of a sudden, it’s like the Holy Spirit jumped in front of this train and simply said: WHAT IF I did everything I was supposed to do (according to the state of life I was in), and it was God’s plan all along?! WHAT IF I didn’t do anything wrong but it was all right in the sight of God?
It certainly gave me peace as the “train” came to a screeching halt and I remembered that “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4).” Which means that He had each and every one of us in mind before He even created the world – so He must know what He’s doing and loves us according to His plan!
WHAT IF I could stop trying to make excuses for “Why I was Called to Leave the Convent”?
—I think it would be a lot easier to see my life as more of a purpose and less of an accident.—
Lord, grant me the grace to see myself and my life as You see it.
By Liz Miller
Liz is a college student who embraces all of life’s awkward moments. She loves Ven. Fulton Sheen and puns.