For the Sake of the Gospel

by Sr. Julie Vieira, IHM

Today the Catholic Church celebrates World Day of Consecrated Life. It is a day to celebrate “the witness of those persons who have chosen to follow Christ by means of the practice of the evangelical counsels” and a day for religious to “renew their commitment and rekindle the fervor.” (Pope John Paul II)

Twelve years ago when Pope John Paul II first established this day of celebration, I was just beginning my candidacy (postulancy) with the IHM Sisters of Monroe, Michigan. I had no idea at the time what adventures were ahead of me as a woman religious. I only knew that this call from God (a call I had valiantly resisted) was drawing me into God and, at the same time, drawing me out of myself.

One of the reasons I first began to consider a vocation to religious life was because I had seen and experienced life’s rough edges. I knew all too well what the prophet Job was saying when he wrote of the difficulties of life — the misery, restlessness, and hopelessness that can break our backs and our hearts. (<a href=” Job 7:1-7). I also wanted to grow in my relationship with Christ Jesus and to give myself as completely as I could. I knew that I could do this as a wife, a mother, or a single woman, but religious life had this strange pull to me, one that I could not ignore. It’s a bit like what Saint Paul wrote in his letter to the Corinthians: “… an obligation has been imposed on me, and woe to me if I do not preach it!” (1 Corinthians 9:16) That’s kind of how I felt about religious life. It’s not that the call was somehow forced upon me, but that it was more truly me than anything else, even the self-imposed images of how my life shouldbe. It was as if my whole being–bones and muscles, thoughts and feelings–would have cried out if I did not pursue this call.

And so here I am, pursuing God’s call for the sake of my own life and for the sake of the Gospel. It is in this call that I find freedom and joy.

Although I am free in regard to all,
I have made myself a slave to all
so as to win over as many as possible.
To the weak I became weak, to win over the weak.
I have become all things to all, to save at least some.
All this I do for the sake of the gospel,
so that I too may have a share in it. (1 Cor 9:19, 22-23)

In what ways do you feel called by God?

Although originally wanting to write a post called “Consecrate This!”, Sister Julie Vieira, IHM, exercised restraint and, as a result, managed to write something that has more potential to be edifying. To learn more about what consecrated life is like, visit Sister Julie’s blog, A Nun’s Life.

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One Response

  1. My call…well, though I am still discerning it, this journey of mine started with sincere curiosity. I had just recieved a Catechism for my eighth grade graduation, and I was extremely curious. So, I read it. Most of the things in that book were extremely challenging for me to believe, but I prayed with them and soon they became a part of me. It was at that point that God was calling me to do something deeper with my life, and at that point it was to follow Him better. Now, I believe it is religious life.

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