Editoriale Giornalino n3
….. ‘Who am I, Lord Yahweh, and what is my House, that you have led me as far as this?! 2 sam 18
The vocation of the religious life
It is a vocation that is a call God gives to persons whom He chooses. Those who are called individuallly respond or fail to respond. Vocation, therefore, is God’s gift; no one can acquire it if it is not given to him. One can only receive and respond to it, but cannot claim it.
God calls for a purpose. He has an intention in calling anyone to the religious life; a specific mission to be fulfilled. A vocation, therefore, is proactive, to cater to a need of the Church or the human society. The signs of the times clearly show what the needs are.
It is an invocation, a prayer on the part of the respondent, expressing trust in God and invoking divine assistance in fulfilling the mission and in responding the need. The one who is called recognizes his or her unworthiness and inability to fulfil the mission entrusted, and therefore draws light and strength from God through prayer and intimacy with God. Communion with God thus becomes the soul of the apostolate.
It is convocation. The love relationship between Christ and the person called gathers them together and forms them into community. The religious vocation involves coming together and living, praying and working together as well. Every religiouse belongs to a religious community. He or She is neither a vagabond nor an isolated individual.
It is true sometimes people do ask why did you choose a religious vocation and not to the marriage vocation? Some might have a definite answer but for many they will be struggle to find the real answer to those questions.
Maybe in our later years, after being religious for some time, we might gather the facts and come up with the experiential answer why I became a religiousl. Some do not know why they have joined and that is why so many young people who join the religious life leave after a few months or even years. They found that was not the life meant for them.
There are some of us who felt the call at an early age and did not respond until later. But there are some who were called later in life but both manage to be faithful to the call.
There are some who will tell you I was attracted by the sisters and the way they live or pray. There are a few who judge byapperances and even say they were attracted by the way the sisters dress! But that is only superficial to a vocation but may be God made that individual to notice dress or veil or voice, etc to invite her for something higher than that. Then later on in the life you find that it was not a dress anyway because they keep changing the design every year!. There is a reason behind them being here.
I was attracted by a priest, a Rosminian Priest, who was our parish priest and who totally dedicated his lifetote Church ndr his people. He had a great love for his people both young and old. I knew I would never be able to becomea priest but I could be a nun. There were a lot of nuns who were very fond of me and I likee them and I spent most of spare time on Saturdays going to help them to clean the Church and environment as most of young girls did in those days. We felt obliged to help the sisters who had given their lives for the church. I did love them and l would use every opportunity to help them even if my relatives were against that as for them I looked like a beggar since we used to stay the whole afternoon around the mission and come back home in the evening.
Although Iwas so near the sisters they never knew what I was thinking until later when I mentioned to the priest that I felt called to be a sister. He directed me to the Rosminian sisters whom I had never met before. I joined the Rosminians two years later and I was so happy with them as if I had known them all my life.
The journey to recognise one’s vocation takes time and needs to be encouraged and supported. In its early stages it is very delicate, one might lose vocation thinking that one is not called but that might be only because one was not supported to respond or to discover the call. It is like guessing and you live with so many doubts. Who will assure you that this is your vocation ?it takes time and a lot of patience and with the help of prayer on the part of both the one who guides and the one who wants to respond the call.
As my parish priest used to tell me, “You will be fine and the sisters will help you.” It is difficult once you know you have to let go all those people, things and places you love and go and start to learn to live and love people on has never known before. Once we feel that here is where I belong and these are my people and the support you get from those whom you have to live with is enough for one to live happily their religious vocation to the fullest.
I think it is a journey for all of us who we have dared to leave our people, our land and so on and come to live and love the same way people whom God has put before us. God has a purpose for each one of us and therefore even for the newest member of our family God has a purpose for her to be here at this particular time. We learn to love and embrace each other as sisters in Christ. I migth add that I am the only girl with 6 brothers but now I have far more sisters!!
Let us Joyful live our gift of Vocation and let others too live happily their vocation. Let us bear fruits abundantly.
WISHING YOU A HAPPY VOCATION YEAR 2014 TO 2015
Sr. M. Felistas J. Lukindo coordinatrice della circoscrizione East Africa