Monthly Archives: May 2012

The Peace of Jerusalem

I just got back from four days spent with the Monastic Community of Jerusalem in Montreal. It was a beautiful experience. Someone recommended them because of the balance I could cope with . Not over-active and not strictly cloistered either.

I don’t understand French and the community is very French, so when I got there, I wondered what I was thinking in the first place.  However, as I listened to the liturgy, I was filled so much peace.

It was not the excitement that I felt with the Salesians or the familiarity of their charism. It was just peace. I think this is what counts at the end of the day, when you get bored with the action around you.

Their community follows the rule of Jerusalem,  they are monastics in the city. They have part-time jobs to support themselves, and open their liturgy to the inhabitants of the city. This rule goes back to the early days of Christianity.

I had a good conversation with the Prioress who, kept apologizing for her bad English. I still understood it though.

She recommended that I read their rule and then come for a longer stay, so I can discern better. She also told me to learn some French 🙂

The church is a 124 years old and was the first church built for the Blessed Sacrament in North America.

My friend  St. Therese of Lisieux was there too. Both as a saint who had a devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and the church has a huge statue of her too. I was making constant novenas to her to help show me the way.

The irony is that she’s French too!

Okay, I forgot to add that during the Pentecost vigil, at the end there were prayers being said to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I went up to be prayed over. Two sisters had their hand on each side of my shoulders. There was nobody in front of me. I asked to receive the gift of courage, since in my previous post on overcoming fear I mentioned how fear and anxiety can take a hold of my life. While they were praying, my eyes were closed but I sensed someone stepped in front of me and strong hands anointed me. It was like a man’s hand. I thought it might be a priest or a monk.  The community has an order of monks too.

There was nobody there. I wanted to check out the sister’s hands later to figure out how strong they were, but It would be a silly thing to do.

Did I imagine this or did someone actually step in front of me?

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Don’t Sell Yourself Short

There are many discerner’s like me who are on the quieter side. We are not impulse. We like to think before we talk. We like to look before we leap. It’s easy to read more out-going people. With people who are quieter it takes time for others to get to know you. It’s easy to come across people who are judgemental or quick to judge you. There are those who think they have everything figured out about a person, whether it’s a friend, a counsellor or just someone you know.

If this sounds like something you have come across. The advice is do not sell yourself short. You know yourself better than others do. You know your strengths and weaknesses. You have to take a stand and not buy into negative things others may say. Prove them wrong. 

There are two stereotypes about those entering religious life. You are either superwoman or you are trying to escape the world and all in it. 

You are a person like everybody else. You need time to grow, to love, to become the person God wants you to be.

 

 

Listen

An important thing to do when discerning a vocation is to listen. Listen to people more qualified than you. Listen to what they have to say about your strengths and weaknesses. You are not always going to like what they have to say, but God has a message for you in what they tell you.

Listening to my spiritual director and those I know in religious life has helped me understand where God is leading me better and has helped me to come to terms with things about myself that I know I should, but do not want too.

I have learnt that I need to be more patient. God unfolds his plans in stages. It’s not like a psychic who will give you quick answers but take all your money. (don’t worry, I have not tried it)

If someone has a vocation, God created them for that vocation and for that particular community or person.

Nobody likes to admit their weaknesses, such as the fact that an over-active community would burn me out, since I need sometime to reflect and think too. On the other hand, a strictly cloistered community would provide me with an outlet to vent because there would be no place for me to go.

There is no point in pretending that I can do something sometime in the future. I need to look at what can I do know, and what community would I fit into as I am at this present time. A community where I could grow to become myself more fully. Become the person God created me to be.

I will continue to pray that I find this.

P.S. And how could I forget listen to your Mum.  Mothers are irreplaceable.

Eyes On Him

I started this year with a lot of excitement and expectation that this might be the year when I confirm the religious community I want to join. As February came along, I fell into this spiral of depression for no apparent reason. 

I did not get out of the house, I ate only once a day, and slept most of the time. I couldn’t figure out what was going on. The doctor did prescribe some medication, but it only provided me with minor relief. 

And then I decided to attend a Lifeteen retreat for youth ministry called “Eyes On Him”. The theme was about keeping your eyes on Jesus, even when you feel like you are falling apart.

St. Peter was the best example of this. When his eyes were on Jesus, he could walk on water towards him. The moment he got distracted by the storm, he began to focus on something else, and then started to sink because this eyes were no longer on Jesus.

This taught me something about relying on God’s strength rather than my own. 

I then made a decision that I had to give God more of my attention, rather than only when I want too. I also realized that I had an opportunity to rely on God’s strength, but I did not, because I thought I could overcome this on my own.

I also realized that God’s greatest act of love is re-presented at every Mass, because Jesus dies for us on the cross at every Mass, to show us how much he loves us. God wants to love us and let us know that we are loved.

I also spoke to my spiritual director about this and he told me that he could not give me the answers I was looking for. 

Was this a sign that I was not being called to religious life? Was God trying to send me a message? Was my health becoming an issue?

Fr. told me to be patient and trust in God’s time. To start working on the foundations, before I get to the roof. This inspired me to try and attend daily Mass, and deepen my prayer life.

Sr. Cora, said that this could possibly be a sign of something, but did not give me a conclusive answer and told me to focus on my health first.

It’s so hard when you want answers but do not get them right away. Patience is truly a virtue because it puts you to the test.

I have to keep reminding myself that my eyes should stay focused on HIM and in time, he will reveal his plans for me. This is not easy, but I am trying.