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You did not choose me, no, I chose you; and I commissioned you to go out and to bear fruit, fruit that will last; so that the Father will give you anything you ask him in my name. John 15:16
I love seconds, whether it comes to food, engrossing myself in a book or watching a favorite movie. The same is very true for the mass; I love the mass and always love seconds. On Sundays I will sometimes return for the 7pm mass (the last mass of the day) or catch it the second time around on EWTN. It is always interesting to hear different priests' homilies. During the week, I attend mass on my way to work and would sometimes listen to the first mass of the day on EWTN hoping that a second homily will help me to better hear all the Lord has to tell me.
This morning, I rushed in church at the tail end of Monsignor Tugwell's short homily and was mentally regretting not being able to attend mass this afternoon (I am traveling to a weekend retreat) On top of it all, I forgot my work laptop at home and had to go clear across town. It was all I could do to stay focused on our Lord in the Eucharist. As I was saying the Anima Christi after communion I started expressing to the Lord my gratitude for all of the graces He's bestowed on me. All the while however, there was this weird lingering doubt in my mind over the fact that I couldn't do it and I was really starting to question whether my vocation to the religious life was genuinely from the Lord.
Well of course I couldn't do it, it's not I who does it it's the Lord. I am merely an instrument which He uses for His Glory just like he used Our Lady. At the time however, that was the last thing on my mind as I was so focused on myself and what I could or couldn't do. Halfway through the drive back home to pick up my laptop I turned the radio back on (EWTN of course) and the Magnificat prayer was being said at the end of the Sonrise Morning Show. I said it along with the prayer leader and started to realize that I was doing it again, making my call to religious about myself rather than about the Lord. It is so easy to sometimes lose focus of the Lord in our day to day lives and I find it even worse when I lose focus of Him in the midst of my own discernment to religious life.
I turned off the radio after the prayer and started to think of the formation of a religious sister - this process can take years! I kept pondering this as I carefully sped (oxymoron, I know) back to work. The waves of doubt came back again: "what if I can't do it?" "I may not persevere" "What if the Lord is not calling me to live my years in this particular community" All these questions in my head reminded me that I was not making the Lord my focus and that I needed to rely on Him now more than ever and would need to continue to do so especially during my formation years and the rest of my years as a sister.
I turned the radio back on and caught the reading of the Gospel (the Genealogy of Jesus) In his homily, Father Miguel pointed out that though Joseph was a just man and Mary born immaculate the genealogy of Jesus is not contained of all perfect people. He pointed out Rahab, Ruth, Isaac, Jacob and other not so perfect members. He drove home the point that in His divine logic, the Lord does not always choose the obvious ones. "Peter denied Jesus three times and Paul persecuted the Church yet these two are pillars of the church" he reminded us. With this he recalled John 15:16 "You did not choose me, no, I chose you; and I commissioned you to go out and to bear fruit, fruit that will last; so that the Father will give you anything you ask him in my name."
This bit came at the perfect time since I was so focused on being perfect that I became more focused on myself more than Christ. The Lord called me and He has reason for doing so, though I do not yet know why he chose a sinner like myself to use for His Glory, I must strive to remember that the choice was His. Living according to the Lord does not mean striving to be perfect but rather striving to be pleasing to Him in all that we do. We are called not to be perfect but to live holy lives; something I need to remind myself of every day. Yes strive to love perfectly and to grow in the virtues but in trying to be the perfect human I find that I become more and more imperfect because I forget the most important thing: to focus on my beloved and to rely on Him and follow His Holy Will. In doing this will I be a better me, a me more and more like him who was the perfect one.
As we approach the end of the Advent season I invite you to join me and making Christ our focus everyday.