Amazed and …
Things I find on my way to looking for other things: While I was looking for a specific bit of information in my notes, I came across some items that made me stop and read, and remember, and reflect on how those items got there.
Back on March 27, I wrote: “Everything God is calling me to relies on celibacy to be answered well and fully.” That was the day, I now realize, that I understood celibacy as a vocation to a consecrated life, and not merely the happenstance of my current lifestyle.
The commitment, by vow, to live a celibate life is many things; but it most assuredly is not a burdensome thing, or even a great sacrifice. Yes, I’m forgoing certain earthly delights – but I don’t see this as a loss or as a giving up. It is for me simply the exact right way for me to live and to have the freedom to do all of the other things God calls me to. It is my calling and, therefore, will become exactly as easy and exactly as difficult as the next person’s calling to married life becomes for them.
There will be moments when I see the easy affection between two married people, and miss that feeling. With grace, I will remember that my union is with Jesus, and he is trusting me to look past the need for those moments of physical comfort in this life to the eternal comfort of the place he has for me in heaven.
There are going to be occasions when I’m in a group where everyone but me seems to be part of a couple, and in my humanness that’s going to feel a bit forlorn. But with grace, I will remember that my choice not to be part of a couple in this life is a choice God led me to, and that it’s a choice that frees me to do everything else he calls me to do.
A blessing I often experience, and experience with profound gratitude, is the peace, joy, and serenity that come with being exactly where God wants me to be, doing what he wants me to do. It’s the kind of peace that makes me sigh, the kind of joy that takes in a deep breath and throw my arms wide to take it all in, the kind of serenity that leaves a smile on my face even after the moment has passed. After such a moment, I hold my head a little higher, my shoulders a little straighter; I walk with a sense of purpose and see everything I encounter as a source of joy.
The simple knowledge that God called me, and then gave me the grace to answer with a profound and hearty “Yes!” – that knowledge makes me free.
I don’t know yet all of the things he will ask of me. What I know is that when he asks – through a neighbor who needs help with her children while she goes to the doctor or runs errands, or the family member who suddenly needs a place for both children for the day, or the friend who wants to have lunch and is willing to come over to my house instead of going out – when he asks, there is great joy in having “Yes” be the first word that comes to my mind and pops out of my mouth.
There are so many ways for me to serve my Lord’s people; I haven’t begun to find them all. But I will keep looking and I will keep listening, and I have absolutely no doubt that he will continue to show me and to tell me. And my commitment to remain celibate, to be his alone even while I live a full life in this world he has given me – this commitment makes it possible to extend my “Yes!” to all the ways he shows me and tells me.
And oh, my, yes – I can live with that.
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