|Amber with some of the girls of|
Hogar Maria Auxiliadora, July 2010
She said something that I immediately wrote down and knew that I had to write a blog entry about it.
"It's definitely a hard thing for people to understand. Mission work or religious life. We have extremely low and challenging moments, but it's something we freely choose anyway and then have the audacity to claim it's our source of joy and fulfillment. That's something that only God's wisdom can explain."
Mission life is not without its difficulties, and neither is religious life. Ask any missioner, ask any Sister, ask any priest or brother.
The mystery is that we stay. Not only that we stay, but that we choose to stay.
We, in religious life, stay despite the fact that the majority are older than us.
They, in mission life, stay despite the stress of new language, of new culture, and sometimes the stress of more work than can possibly be handled.
As everything within us begins to run away, it is God pulling our sleeve, and pulling us back to stay. And every time we encounter a difficulty - whether it be loneliness or overwork - if it is His will, He pulls us back even more.
The mystery is that as the pull becomes stronger, somehow we become happier. We find that He is not actually pulling us to stay, rather He is pulling us closer to Him. We find that it is in the life we live, frustrations and all, that we are most fulfilled. It is contradictory to those that don't understand. It may even seem contradictory to ourselves, yet we know this is what makes our soul come alive, this is what sets our hearts on fire and, most importantly, this is where we most experience God...despite the times we feel lonely, despite the times we yearn for a little time to ourselves, despite the times we are frustrated with our work, despite the misunderstandings, despite the times we look at our suitcases and wonder.
Amber is right. Only God's wisdom can explain it. But it is vocation - it is that same pull that led Moses to keep going on the way to the Promised Land, that led Joseph to stay with Mary despite her pregnancy, that led Simon Peter to not run away during Jesus' trial (despite the denials), that led Paul to continue his work despite the persecutions. It is a pull that has spanned the centuries...yet also a pull that is unique to each and every one of us.