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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Speak Lord, your servant is listening

I didn't used to be much of a Catholic at all, but I'm not going to tell that story yet. That's kind of a backstory at this point, classified as "Conversion" or "Reversion", and of course it's related to my vocational discernment, but it is seperate from this story. I will only give a couple details from ancient history:

I remember when I was in Jr. High, a cousin, 5 years my elder, to whom I looked up very much said, and I quote, "All good Catholic women should at least CONSIDER becoming a nun."

She was of course, quoting someone else. Her words, echoing unrecognized wisdom, have reverberated in my unworthy mind at the most unlikely moments.

My initial idea of "considering becoming a nun" consisted of, "Let me think about it". Pause, "The Thinker" pose for a heartbeat or so, and "No."

But then something changed, somehow. I came back to the Church (again, reference to the reversion story I haven't told yet.) And last winter/spring was my first Lenten season as a wannabe-serious Catholic woman.

I resolved to so something special, and a Life in the Spirit seminar was offered. Long story, but I actually experienced a great amount of grace during this course.

In the beginning, maybe 1-2 weeks into the 6 week seminar, I woke up one morning and could not face my job. I was struggling in so many ways and had this sense of unrest I didn't know how to address. I could NOT make myself go out my door that morning, try as I did. I got ready to go to work, trying to hype myself up as I walked my dogs, showered, got dressed, ate breakfast..well..picked at breakfast. I was on the edge of tears, edge of panic. But I wasn't sick, and I needed to go to work.

I talked to God about this. I told him I had to go to work and to take this ridiculous feeling away...but I could not face work. I tried to go out the door and collapsed upon it in tears, the door remaining closed.

I walked upstairs to the upper level of my townhome and called in "sick". I felt like an idiot. In reality, though, I was sick...spiritually...and that's what God was trying to tell me.

I had never spent more than a few minutes in our Perpetual Adoration Chapel, but that morning, I KNEW that's where I needed to be. As I went out the door, something (methinks the Holy Spirit) reminded me that Bl. Archbishop Fulton Sheen wrote most of his homilies before the Blessed Sacrament and that I should take a I grabbed a notebook and my Pieta prayer book and fled for the church.

I didn't know what to do when I got there, so I just prayed, with the occasional tears rising behind my lids. I dind't know what was wrong with me. So I told Jesus about that. I felt relief at missing that day's work, ironically, when I KNEW the unscheduled day would put me behind...but I had the sense that I was where I was actually SUPPOSED to be at that time.

I was so confused!

After awhile, I felt a prompting to write, although I had no idea what to write about. But the words flowed, I remembered times when I had denied Christ.

I pondered the Blessed Sacrament, enclosed in the monstrance, a ring of gold surrounding him. I sensed the Lord reaching out to me, offering me...what?

The words in my journal just began to flow from my hand, without thought, almost without perception.

Words came to me that I questioned, but I wrote them down, knowing, as an aspiring writer, not to question inspiration. I could always rip it up later.

But I had to go back later and read the words I wrote:

"Yet here I sit before the Blessed Sacrament in a ring, considering the marriage proposal of Christ."

I stopped writing, shocked. WHAT!?

But that prompt to continue was stronger than ever, so I continued, "Do I accept his grace or will I ultimately walk away, leaving him standing, holding a ring, and promising to be ever faithful? How can I see this and continue to place yet another wound upon his most Holy Sacred Heart?"

I nearly fled the chapel, my heart in my throat. Was I INSANE?

So I wrote in my journal, consciously, well aware, writing out my fear, "So, Jesus, I say yes, but not today. Help me understand and give you an unconditional answer."

I told the Lord "Yes", but here I sit, 10 months later, and all I've discovered is that I'm not very faithful, not very temperate, and rather, very tempermental.

I fled the chapel that day, fearfully...but I was drawn inexorably back. But that, my friends, is for another chapter.

God bless you all!

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