10 years and counting!

Here are the words which I shared with the people who joined with me on the 2nd of October 2014 to celebrate my 10 years of religious profession and to pray for vocations to the priesthood and the religious life.

"Usually in religious life, we begin counting our ‘milestones’, so to speak, when we reach 25 years. However, as the years go on, we realise that life is precious and fragile and commitment to religious life, priesthood and marriage is to be celebrated as we support each other in our various vocations. This 10th anniversary is very meaningful for me as I remember also my Profession companion Sr.Gabriela from Poland, who would have been celebrating her 10th this week but the Lord had other plans and called her home to Himself in heaven last March at the young age of 33. As St. Theophane once said: "We are all flowers planted on this earth, which God plucks in his own good time, some a little sooner, some a little later."

With some of my Dominicans friends,
thanks to Br. David for the photo.
Today we celebrate the feastday of the Guardian Angels. In my vocational journey, the angels and archangels have always been close to me. As we heard in the first Reading: “the Lord himself will send an angel to guard us as we go and bring us to the place which He has prepared.” How true are these words. I entered the community on their feastday, I began novitiate on this feastday and then in 2004, I professed my vows on the feast of the Guardian Angels. Ten years ago, I showed my readiness to consecrate everything I am and have to God because He first consecrated me, firstly through the gift of baptism and then by bringing it to maturation in the call to religious life as a Disciple of the Divine Master. It is a call not to hold back what I can be and give but to continuously offer acts of selflessness in justice, creativity and compassion for my brothers and sisters.

Just a few days ago, we had the Feastday of the Archangels, among them St. Gabriel. St. Gabriel announced the most wonderful and life-changing event ever to occur in the universe, the Incarnation of Jesus in the womb of Mary. How many times have I meditated upon the mystery of the Annunciation, of God’s annunciation to me! Mary’s fiat has become the model of ‘fiat’ for disciples throughout the centuries and I am no different. I continue to say: “let it be done according to your will”. This is the ‘fiat’ in the messiness of life. I can still feel the joy and the apprehension in saying ‘here I am, Lord’ and hear the gentle whisper of the Lord who says ‘do not be afraid, I am with you’.

Pope Francis in the Joy of the Gospel calls us to pause before the joy of the moment when "Jesus looked at me" and to recall the important and demanding, underlying meaning of our vocation: “It is a response to a call, a call of love”. To stay with Christ requires us to share our lives, our choices, the obedience of faith, the happiness of poverty, the radicality of love. It is about being reborn through vocation. Since we are witnesses of a communion beyond our vision and our limits, we are called to wear God’s smile and live joyfully.
With Sr. Mary (aka Maggiorina) and Sr. Brid
at the end of the evening.
Happy smiles all round!
Every day, I ask the Master for an increase of faith. It has been a rocky road at times but He has not left me on my own. If God asks, He will give you the grace to do something. Yes, the Lord never leaves us on our own and places the right people at the right time upon our pilgrim way. I see the various people who clearly influenced and continue to influence my own faith journey in positive and powerful ways.

To finish, I’d like to leave each one of us with a challenge, again issued by Pope Francis:

"Look into the depths of your heart, look into your own inner depths and ask yourself: do you have a heart that desires something great, or a heart that has been lulled to sleep by things? Has your heart preserved the restlessness of seeking or have you let it be suffocated by things that end by hardening it? God awaits you, he seeks you; how do you respond to him? "
Thank you for your presence with me here this evening. I am grateful to God for each one of you and your prayerful support with me over the years and I continue to count on it in the future. Rest assured of my humble prayers for you, your families and your communities. AMEN.