Honduras!

Me: “Guess where I’m going for Spring Break?!?!” Dad: “Please say anywhere but Honduras…” Me: “Uhhhh…” *mischevious grin*

I was just perusing through my posts and noticed that something very important was missing.  I am doing something major in one week and I failed completely to write about it.  I guess the excitement of nunhood has been consuming my thoughts lately 🙂

Anyway, every year my school offers the opportunity to participate in spring break service trips to various places around the country.  For the first time, this year they planned an international trip.  Not wanting to pass up the opportunity, of course I applied.

That’s right folks, in one week I will be traveling to central america once again, to Guatemala’s neighbor, Honduras.  We are working with a program called Students Helping Honduras and staying in El Progreso.  This organization recruits groups of college students to come for one week and assist in building schools and with various other projects.  Their main purpose to improve opportunities for children in Honduras.  They work on building schools, providing school supplies and also run a children’s home.

Since I’ve been so multimedia lately, here’s a video about a village they’re basically building from the ground up:

This will definitely be a new experience for all of us, as we’ll be working with a new organization and with other college students from around the country.  It should also be an interesting experience for me personally, since I have recently surrendered by desires to be a foreign missionary.  It will be more important than ever to listen to the still small voice of God during this trip.

True Satisfaction

I just stumbled across this beautiful poem by St Anthony of Padua and thought it needed to be shared.

Be Satisfied with Me
by St. Anthony of Padua

Everyone longs to give themselves completely to someone,
To have a deep soul relationship with another,
To be loved thoroughly and exclusively.

But to a Christian, God says, “No, not until you are satisfied,
Fulfilled and content with being loved by me alone,
With giving yourself totally and unreservedly to me.
With having an intensely personal and unique relationship with me alone.

Discovering that only in me is your satisfaction to be found,
Will you be capable of the perfect human relationship,
That I have planned for you.
You will never be united to another
Until you are united with me.
Exclusive of anyone or anything else.
Exclusive of any other desires or longings.
I want you to stop planning, to stop wishing, and allow me to give you
The most thrilling plan existing . . . one you cannot imagine.
I want you to have the best. Please allow me to bring it to you.

You just keep watching me, expecting the greatest things.
Keep experiencing the satisfaction that I am.
Keep listening and learning the things that I tell you.
Just wait, that’s all. Don’t be anxious, don’t worry
Don’t look around at things others have gotten
Or that I have given them
Don’t look around at the things you think you want,
Just keep looking off and away up to me,
Or you’ll miss what I want to show you.
And then, when you’re ready, I’ll surprise you with a love
Far more wonderful than you could dream of.

You see, until you are ready, and until the one I have for you is ready,
I am working even at this moment
To have both of you ready at the same time.
Until you are both satisfied exclusively with me.

 

Also…I’m going to Ohio tomorrow!  I have the psychological exam on Monday (send prayers my way!) but other than that I just get to hang out with the Sisters for a couple of days.  I’ll write more soon!

TRUTH

So I’ve always been a girl of many passions and interests.  This presents a problem in discerning which of those passions God is calling me to focus on – aka how he needs me to minister to others.  It’s led to distractions like saving all of the starving children in Africa.  Well now that I’ve actually opened myself up to the Holy Spirit and am paying attention to his inspirations (someone told me recently that the fastest way to holiness is to follow the inspirations of the Holy Spirit), I’ve been able to see much more clearly what my unique vocation might be.  It also helps that I’ve discovered another layer of my vocation – being a nun.  Now I am trying to dig deeper towards the person that God made me to be.

So I’ve been asking myself, what is the deepest desire of my heart?  What is at the root of every career and activity I’ve been drawn to?  The list is long – English(teaching and writing), Journalism, Social Work, political activism, campus ministry and the list goes on.

I think the commonality between all of these things has finally been uncovered: a desire to discover and share the truth. Truth: this is my deepest passion.  I’ve always thrived in the classroom, especially classes like Philosophy and Theology, in which ideas are being intensely discussed and the truth is being sought.  I was drawn to English initially because the basic aim of Literature is to reveal universal truths about humanity.  Teaching stemmed from the desire to share these truths with young people.  Journalism is also aimed at revealing the truth (although it doesn’t seem that way often).  My passion for social justice also stems from a desire to reveal the truth.  Most injustices exist because of a lie spread about human dignity.  For example, abortion is accepted based on the lie that a fetus is not a human being.

In coming to this realization, I’ve been trying to figure out why I was led to Social Work.  Did I get distracted by the desire to help the poor and the excitement of “changing the world”?  Well I was partially drawn to Social Work by a desire to help people on a more individual level and then I was attracted by the prettiness of activism.  Recently I am finding that my strengths lie more in spiritual ministry and building personal relationships with others.  I desire to help each individual discover their true self, by discovering the truth of God’s infinite love.  This desire to help others caused me to focus on material poverty, but I’ve finally realized the seriousness of spiritual poverty.  And, in the end, the truth about poverty can only be discovered by forming relationships with the poor themselves.

And it always comes back to this one thing: writing.  It is the talent which God has granted me to convey His truths to His children.  I’m not sure what these realizations mean but I don’t necessarily need to know right now.  Part of surrender is letting go of the “need to know”.  God is asking me to trust Him by becoming a nun, and He’ll take care of the rest.  I don’t need to know the next step, although that is something I am still struggling to accept.

Giving Everything to Gain Everything

"Open Wide the Door to Christ"

I almost forgot to share my news! I got a call from the TOR Sisters vocation director last Monday.  The formation board approved me to move onto the next stage!  Next I’ll be completing some personality and psychological tests tomorrow.  After that I have to travel out to Ohio again in 2 weeks to have a psychological exam (so they know I’m not crazy).  I’ve been weirdly calm about all of this but that’s because this is what I’m supposed to be doing.  By now, I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life other than being a TOR Sister.

Yet there is still a sense of fear underlying it all.  Sometimes the reality of what I’m doing hits me and I wonder if I can really do it.  But then I remember that Christ gives us the grace to do whatever He needs to us to.  For that reason, this quote from the Pope has been a constant in my life:

“Are we not perhaps all afraid in some way? If we let Christ enter fully into our lives, if we open ourselves totally to him, are we not afraid that He might take something away from us? Are we not perhaps afraid to give up something significant, something unique, something that makes life so beautiful? Do we not then risk ending up diminished and deprived of our freedom? And once again the Pope said: No! If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed. Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and liberation. And so, today, with great strength and great conviction, on the basis of long personal experience of life, I say to you, dear young people: Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and he gives you everything. When we give ourselves to him, we receive a hundredfold in return. Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ – and you will find true life. Amen.” ~ Pope Benedict XVI

That about says it all.  This is what I’m doing – Giving up everything for the sake of the kingdom, in the pursuit of a more fulfilling life than the world could ever offer. I mean he’s the Pope, so I can’t really think of anything that tops that.