Over the past couple of weeks, I have had a number of occasions to ponder our vow of obedience and how it is lived out in the day to day of my life. Last week at St. James Academy, where our Sisters serve, we celebrated vocation awareness week with Sisters, Brothers and priests from a variety of religious communities and the diocesan priesthood. It was a time for our students to ask questions about our life - and, as they feel most comfortable grilling their teachers, extorting our vocation stories from each of us. (It's also a great excuse to avoid a lecture on polynomials.)
And so in the process of all of that, I had the opportunity to tell the stories that mean so much in a religious life: how God calls initially, and the excitement and uncertainty of that initial call, and the ways in which His call grows as we respond.
I was a 'baptized pagan' living in Northern California, and a junior in high school, when I picked up a Catholic Digest and discovered that "they advertise for nuns!?!?" I had no clue that God was calling me to the life, but I wrote to about twenty communities just to ask questions. All but one responded that I was far too young to think about entering. (Just for the record, I had no idea of thinking about entering. I was just fascinated by the idea: "nun.") But a Sister in our community wrote back and answered my questions, and was so nice to continue the correspondence. After eighteen months, I was hooked, came for a visit, and never looked back.
Something about that guy.
And then, how obedience shapes the call. I am a math teacher today because a Bishop in Nebraska needed a math teacher in his diocesan high school. Although I was studying history at the time, my superiors had a lot of faith that I could do it (more than I did, actually) and I've been doing it - and loving it - for seventeen years.
We have a saying in our community that "Obedience Works Miracles." I have found in my life that it is entirely true. By handing our lives over to God, we receive the grace and strength and even a bit of added talent (Me, do Math?) to fulfill His will and work out His plan. Sometimes it seems a bit strange - His thoughts are not ours - but, in the end, it all works.
That's not to say that there is no challenge, no difficulty. Tomorrow, we celebrate the feast of Saint Agnes, one of the patrons of our congregation. She lived and died for Christ, following His will in the darkness of persecution and danger. And she is one of the fairest saints of the year.
May God bless you as you discern His will in the coming weeks.
--submitted by Sister M. Luka, Kansas City, KS