“What’s it like to be a sister?” I asked this question of Sr. Jerome so many years ago, when I was a junior at Cor Jesu Academy in St. Louis. I don’t remember her answer. I do remember the question. Through that question, God was calling me. That question, that possibility stirred something within me. Through it I recognized the call. Something in me could not resist…something in me was drawn. Quite simply–I fell in love with God!
My first felt memory of this was at Eucharistic Adoration. My eyes were inexorably drawn to the King of Love, contained in the frail host. I refused to utter the sentimental words we were given to pray. In my heart I looked with love on the One who looked with love on me. That was enough.
“What’s it like to be a sister?” The reflection below captures what is the heart of our life and the heart of our life is Jesus. To enter for any other reason is not just foolish, but a mistake.
Religious Life grows into a spousal relationship. We tease at home–in the convent–“I have the best spouse of all!” And I do. He is always faithful, though I am weak. His love is constant, though I often miss the mark. His love is eternal and all I can do is as St. Therese taught–borrow His love, so I can love as he loves those He loves.
This may or may not answer the question: “What’s it like to be a sister?”, but it gives you a glimpse into our way of life.
Peace be with you!
How great is your love, O Jesus!
Your love’s so strong; it captures some!
Though their feet are planted here;
Their hearts beat in heaven with yours!
No permanent home, no spouse, no children!
“Come, my beloved, my lovely one, come!”
They hear and generously respond,
Like the gospel widow who tossed
Her last two coins into the Temple treasury:
Giving all, holding nothing back!
They give their lives to you with joy:
Their hands, their voices, their hearts are Yours;
Because you have need of it!
You Alone are their all,
Joyfully they pray:
“Do with me what you will!
Just let me know you;
Let me love you; let me follow you!
What sacrifice is too great?
What love can compare with your love?”
Choosing poverty, chastity and obedience,
They bind themselves to you
Who had nowhere to lay your head,
Who emptied yourself to fill us,
Who wedded yourself to a sinful people,
To make of us a Priestly People,
A Holy People, God’s own People!
These our sisters and brothers, ordinary people,
Live hidden with You in God our Father;
Shine joyfully before the world, foreshadowing
A new heavens and a new earth.
You have so captured their hearts!
They trust in You with their all;
They lean not on their own understanding;
And you, the ever Provident, ever Loving,
Make their paths straight.
What words to sing of you,
save what you sing in us:
“Love one another as I have loved you?”
With hearts on fire, they strive to do as you do:
You the First Giver, the First Gift, Fire of Love!
Their gift of enduring love, a tiny drop,
In the Ocean of your Heart!
All they can do is follow you with joy,
The Divine Lamb, wherever you go!
For you call and they are Yours.