Grace upon Grace: A Song of Thanksgiving
“What do the sisters do all day? Do they pray all day?”
Those are the questions I often get asked by people. Nine years ago, before I decided to join the Congregation of Mary, Queen, I asked myself those same questions. I never thought of myself as a religious sister but God always works miracles, especially when I least expected it. (And along the journey, I found the answers! Sisters pray, work, and play!)
When I reflect on my journey, I see many blessings God granted me in my religious life. To me, God is a friend where I come and talk to Him about everything and am not afraid of anything. I think as long as I persevere in my vocation and continue trying to do God’s will, whatever hardships may come my way, God will always help me to overcome them.
When I was on the annual retreat this year preparing for my perpetual vows, I was overwhelmed with gratitude for all the graces God granted me along my journey. I remember two months after I entered religious life, my grandma passed away. This was a big shock for me because she was the one who inspired me to follow God’s call. I did not know why God took her away from me. I wanted to continue with my vocation but could not find the strength to do so; then God sent the right people to help me with my journey.
“Everything is grace because everything is God's gift.” St. Therese of Lisieux once said. This holds true for me. Earlier this year, when extra precautions were still in place because of Covid-19, there was a possibility the Ritual Mass for the Profession of Perpetual Vows would be on Zoom and my family and friends would not be physically present. However, God did not want His bride sad on her wedding day, so He decided to perform miracles. The Mass was able to be in-person and masks were optional for those who were fully vaccinated. My family, all my CMR sisters and friends were there, rejoicing with me on my special day. I can’t express how grateful I am to God for this.
Everything during my Mass of Perpetual Vows was so beautiful, more than what I expected. One of the special highlights of the Mass was when my nephew, who is three years old, came and give me a hug together with all the perpetually professed sisters. Another highlight were the words that Bishop Rice gave during his homily. He said, “The solemn blessing that will be given refers to the “boundless love” of God who created you, who desires you as His bride and who in baptism has given you the promise of eternal life. That boundless love is what binds the spouse to His bride. The ring you will wear is a sign of your perpetual profession. Without beginning or end, it symbolizes the perpetual love of bride and groom.”
A few minutes later, I professed my perpetual vows. Bishop Rice, in the name of Jesus and the Church, put a ring on my finger and said, “Receive this ring, for you are betrothed to the Eternal King, keep faith with your Bridegroom so that you may come to the wedding feast of eternal joy.” This was the moment I have been waiting for and looking forward to from the day I joined the CMR sisters. God loves me with His abundant love, and He calls me to become His Bride even though I am unworthy of it. There are people out there who are smarter than me, better than me yet God decided to choose me. I do not need to feel God’s love because I can see it through each moment, each event and through the people He brings into my life. I believe that nothing happens without a reason. I might not see God’s will right away but I know that He always wants what is best for me.
As I was sharing my vocation story during the reception, there were times when I was very emotional and dumbstruck, seeing how God works in my life: how He guided me through each step of my journey, the people He gave me to be my companions, and the support, love I have from my family, my CMR family and friends. Three of my priest friends who have journeyed with me through my vocation came and celebrated my wedding day with me. At the end of the reception, all three together gave me a blessing. What else could anyone else ask for? God has given me so much that I will never be able to return His love. I can only try to imitate Our Blessed Mother Mary, to forever sing of His goodness, to respond “Fiat” with whatever He asks of me, to be like St. Veronica, wiping the face of Jesus and imitate St. Therese of Lisieux, to do everything, no matter how small it is with great love. The only other thing I can give Him is my perseverance and faithfulness in my vocation.
“Forever will my soul proclaim the greatness of the Lord.” Lk 1:46
Please continue to keep me in your prayers.