Each one, as a good manager of God's different gifts, must use for the good of others the special gift he has received from God. (1 Peter 4:10)

Grace I Can Live With

July 23, 2019

This morning, I am thinking about joy and consolation.

While the time leading up to the profession of my vow of celibacy was marked by frequent questions and doubts, it was the underlying sense of impending joy that carried my very human heart forward. It is an odd perversity of the workings of grace that kept me informed of the false nature of those questions and doubts, while also keeping the joy just a touch out of easy reach.

The time of preparation was a time of glimpses and hints of what was good and true and beautiful about what I was doing, and I had those to fall back on whenever the whispers of “Who do you think you are? Why would God want you, of all people, to promise yourself to him? What makes you so special?”

Grace was there in the constant reminder that each time such questions and doubts raised themselves, what I needed was prayer.

Grace was there in the inevitable peace and calm that descended when I remembered to pray.

Grace was there in the readings and homilies and little events that left little gems in my path, gems of wisdom and confirmation and hope.

And it is grace that, from the moment of professing my vow, filled my heart with joy and song and that offered the most beautiful consolations with every event of my days. I wish I could describe it, and I wish I could give it to everyone I meet. It seems like I went for such a long time without this sense of consolation. Never was my faith in question, nor my commitment. But I do remember thinking that if the rest of my life of commitment to my Lord had to be lived without it, I would find a way to make do with the promise of eternal joy and consolation in heaven.

The wonder that fills me as I experience each moment of each day as a way to serve and walk with Jesus – that wonder is a powerful confirmation that my vow was exactly what God called me to do. That he, in his infinite love and compassion and wisdom, saw fit to reward my journey in this way – it fills me with joy. And it reminds me, when I think about it in the context of the months that went before, that these consolations and this joy and this peace – these are not emotions, not mere feelings, but blessings from my Father who loves me.

Most important is to understand that the times of question and doubt, the days that pass without the sense of consolation and without the direct experience of joy – those times and those days are just as much blessings from my Father who loves me. Those times and those days will be my call to prayer, my call to trust in Jesus fully, my call to ask him to fill me with love that makes me overflow and share with others. Those times and those days will be my call to perseverance and my call to hope, my reminder that the reward is not here and now, but in heaven when I join him forever.

And I can live with that.

Jesus, let me find you today in everyone I meet. Let me serve you in everyone I meet. Let me share your blessings, and let me remember that you are the Word that speaks in my heart and soul – not in feelings and emotions, but in truth and goodness which are their own beauty. Let me, in grace, accept all that comes my way with thanksgiving and joy. Let me walk with you, and constantly ask you, like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, to stay with me – for I have much to learn about our new life together.

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