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An invitation to 'mini Presentations' each day
Let's present this day to Him!
Blessed Feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple!
On February 2, 2019 — literally one day after returning from World Youth Day in Panama via one of the worst flights I’ve ever had to date2 — I felt a prompting to go to a special mass held on this day by the Archdiocese of Vancouver. I wasn’t jet-lagged, but I was tired from the travel and chaos, and on top of that, Vancouver received a lot of snow. Anyone who knows Vancouver knows that snow isn’t really our forte.
But for reasons which I can only now attribute to the Holy Spirit, I bundled myself up and took the train down to this mass. Was I actively discerning religious life, or did I know anyone who was going to be there? That would be a resounding no to both. And yet, I found myself after the mass engaging in conversation with more sisters, priests, and brothers than I ever had.
While I was at World Youth Day, a talk given by Sr. Bethany Madonna of the Sisters of Life led me to confront a question that I think all young people should consider at some point in their lives: Is God calling me to religious life? Admittedly I don’t remember the content of Sr. Bethany’s talk, but I remember being captivated by her conviction, joy, and the way she spoke about Jesus. Here I was, about two years after having a major conversion of my own, and I was struggling to really relate to Jesus as someone who loves me. Whatever Sr. Bethany Madonna had, I wanted that, too.
So perhaps this is what led me to the parish hall that snowy afternoon in 2019. I was seeking something, but didn’t know at the time what it was. Four years later, I’m delighted to see where saying “Yes” has led me. I’m also reminded that the “Yes” is continual and unceasing. I don’t have any more certainty than I had previously about the *grand, overarching plan* God has for me, but one thing I am certain of is that this is where God wants me to be right now.
In the four months I have been here so far, a lot has happened. Many sisters joke with me that you never get bored in the convent! And while there is a lot going on and many things to do, the beautiful thing I have come to appreciate is the balance that exists in this life: prayer, study, apostolate and community.
In a sense, every day is like a ‘mini Presentation.’ Luke 2 recounts the story of how Joseph and Mary presented Jesus in the temple in accordance with Mosaic Law: “…as it is written in the Law of the Lord, ‘Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord’” (Luke 2:23). And while I am still a while off from vows and religious consecration, I’m invited to consecrate myself each day to the Lord: every action, every worry, every joy is His.
One of the greatest changes to my life is the fact that I don’t really know what I’m going to do in a given week or even day — I might have a gist, but for the most part I go where I am sent. I had a hard time getting over that; as many people may know, I like to have things planned out days and weeks in advance. By the grace of God, this isn’t necessarily getting used to zero preparation, but being open to what God wants to do in a given day. All I can really do is present my day and myself to Him, consecrate it to Him, and ask what He wants to accomplish.
May we have the courage to say “yes” to Him every day, and present our days and plans to Him with the trust that He has something great planned for us.
💡Some highlights from the past month
After a month’s worth of testing and waiting patiently, I am now a licensed driver in the State of Missouri! 🚗
Along with five of my sisters, we were able to serve at SEEK23 on January 2-6 here in St. Louis! It’s like CCO’s Rise Up, but make it 17,000 people! It was beautiful to be present and meet many young adults from around the United States and the world. This week was an incredible opportunity to meet people who I had only met previously online via The Feminine Genius Podcast or elsewhere— below is a sampling of some of those reunions — as well as meeting new friends and connecting with old friends and CANADIAN friends!
I celebrated my first Lunar New Year in the convent! I have been so fortunate to enter a community that really embraces diversity among the people of God. It was a joy to contribute to our Lunar New Year meal and celebrate in a different way!
Reading: The Authority of Women in the Catholic Church by Monica Migliorino Miller; Why We’re Polarized by Ezra Klein3
Studying: The Catechism of the Catholic Church (thanks, Fr. Mike Schmitz!); The Discernment of Spirits
Enjoying: The wonderful library that we have nearby, the early morning reading, finding a Chinese bakery in St. Louis and sharing some of my favourites with my sisters
It’s crazy to think that in two-ish weeks time, we’ll be at the start of another Lenten season. As we approach a change in our liturgical calendar, may we be present to Jesus who is always present to us, especially in a time of penitence and fasting.
On this World Day for Consecrated Life, please pray for all those men and women in consecrated life, as well as those currently in formation and those who are discerning a call to enter. We pray for the continued grace to give Him our yes, and we pray to the Lord of the harvest to continue to send good labourers to work in the harvest and serve His Church.
Know of my continued prayers for you, and please keep me and my community in your prayers! Thank you!
In Jesus, Divine Master,
The World Day for Consecrated Life was instituted in 1997 by Pope St. John Paul II.
A story for another day, haha.