Monday Memes #108

Yes, I do know what shoes slung over a power line are supposed to mean, but this was some kind of modern art installation – there were dozens more pairs hanging all over the alley.

And no, I wouldn’t really.

The Last Shall Be First

 By LumenChristi.

May/June can be hard months for those of us still discerning our place in life. Weddings, ordinations, professions of vows, and entrances into religious communities are a painful reminder that another year has come without any such milestone in sight for us. We rejoice with our friends and families – do our best to put on yet another reception with love, and send yet another friend off to the convent/seminary with prayers.  And sit through yet another homily about “celebrating a yes to the Lord and to one’s vocation.” And go to confession yet again for envy/self-pity/lack of trust in God.

Am I right? Or is that just me?

I read an article recently called  “We said yes too” about the struggles of Catholic couples who struggle with a miscarriage or infertility. While those around them get celebrated for having many children, they often experience the implication that those who don’t have a wild 7+ member crew in tow “aren’t open to life” or “haven’t said yes.” The author goes on to explain how she and others like her have said yes – hidden yesses too deep and painful to share. Yes to giving back to God an unborn child gone too soon; yes to the surrender of hopes and dreams in the struggle with infertility; yes to allowing the gifts that God has given to be enough.

When I read her article, as a woman discerning her vocation who has hit many painful detours along the road, I identified deeply with what she said. Though my life and struggles are different, my heart leapt with bittersweet joy as every word resonated.

“I have said yes too,” I thought. Not the “yes” that gets celebrated during “vocation season.” Not the exhilarating “yes” of a vow to the Church or to another person to commit my life forever. But a silent, not-spoken-out-loud kind of yes, I had given.

The “yes” to surrender my will and my desires to God and trust him for the timing.

The “silent yes” to Him in not settling for a “celebrated yes” that I knew wasn’t His will for me.

The “yes” to being faithful in prayer even during the times where I was no longer sure who I was praying to. . .

As well as the little “yesses” too that can cost a lot at times. Yes, Lord, I will smile at my friend and share his/her joy right now even though I would rather run away and cry. . .Yes, Lord, I will bite my tongue and accept criticism in humility when a priest or leader in the church asks “haven’t I thought about my vocation?” (Believe me, I ‘ve thought about it!!! Too much maybe!”)

We, dear single, discerning ladies, have said our “yes” too.  I am not arguing that these “yesses” become publically celebrated. Firstly, that would be awkward, but secondly, some yesses are meant to be hidden. As Christ lived the first 30 years of His life, so too are many of the yesses along the way to holiness, hidden – sometimes

 

even disguised and misunderstood. Such is the brokenness of humanity and the mystery of God. But as I was reading this article and reflecting on my own “yes,” I realized how important it is to understand and treasure it myself . I think, in the future, it will help me to step back from others’ celebrations just long enough to pause, and pray.  “I too have said yes, Lord and you know it. Give me the strength to keep saying yes, even when it is difficult.”

Each woman can fill in what her “yes” has been. . .

“Lord, I said “yes” to entering the religious life, following you while my family thought I was crazy. . . and then, when you sent me back to that same family, I said “yes” again just as generously, although this time it was with tears. . . “

“Lord, I followed you out of the convent and into the world, not knowing

where it would lead. I’ve accepted every bump in the road and being “a fool for you” as I adjusted back to secular life . . .”

“Lord, I desire marriage and a family, but I’ve said YES to waiting for it to happen in your time and in your way. . .”

“Lord, I do not know where I’m going, but I’ve said “yes” to journeying joyfully even when I feel desolate. . .”

“Lord, being at Mass right now only brings me pain, but I say “yes” to being here with you anyway. . .”

Each of us can find a lot of these “yesses” in our lives, and I have realized it is important to remember them.  I believe that for me such remembrances will be the key place where I will find the power to rejoice with those who rejoice, and to walk in faith when I would rather see.

Of course, we are not alone in either the remembering or the resolving to do better. I hope it consoles you as much as it did me, to rediscover that no “yes” goes unseen by God. I think these yesses, that are the last to be thought of in this world, are the first to be remembered in His eyes, and the foremost to be felt by His heart. I think the more conscious of them that we become, the stronger we will be in remaining faithful to them.

God-willing, one day we too, will have the opportunity to make one of the “celebrated” yesses. But in the meantime, the silent ones are nonetheless real. Treasure your “yes” and allow the Lord to treasure you.

Monday Memes #107

Monday Memes #106

Monday Memes #105

 

This is what happens when things get crazy at the Blog Mistress’s workplace! Long live the Tuesday Meme!

Leonie… and Letters!

Hello everyone,

Quick blog-mistressy announcement: today, the third of June, is the 153rd birthday of our patroness, Servant of God Leonie Martin. This makes it a fitting day to talk about… letters!

Much of what we know about Leonie’s early life is recorded in letters written by her mother to friends and family: the entire biography of Zelie’s little black sheep is written out in her own handwriting. Later on, when Leonie entered the Visitation, her only means of communication with her four beloved sisters was by means of handwritten letters, many of which are still in the care of the Carmel of Lisieux.

Many of us will have preserved that monastic letter-writing tradition ourselves – I still have all the long, news-filled updates that my family wrote me during my postulancy, and the cards sent by my friends for my first and only birthday and Easter in the community. Likewise, my mother has kept all of mine.

In this age of email and text messages, I think today is a good day to reflect upon the slower and more deliberate process of letter-writing, and to extend an invitation to you. We have a Leonie’s Longing PO box located in Michigan, and would like to offer an exchange of letters with you, our readers.  We’d love to hear from you by mail, in a way that won’t eventually just disappear into the bottom of a busy inbox. It doesn’t have to be a long letter – just a quick greeting and perhaps a few words about yourself – and we’ll answer you in the same way.

We can be found at:

Leonie’s Longing

PO Box 104

Mason, MI 48854.

Let’s ask the intercession of our patroness today, and keep each other in prayer. We are a community of a unique and profound kind, based on what is for most of us the defining experience of our lives: the time that we spent in the religious life, and the paths that we have taken to find our place in the Church ever since. I can never say it enough: it’s a privilege to walk that road with you.

God bless,

Penny.