Every year (for the past four years), I wait until the time is right, and then I go away to London, Ontario, for a few days and lock myself up in a monastery.
No, it’s not that dramatic, really. I spend my time in the monastery in quiet contemplation, to receive spiritual direction, and to enjoy my one “talking meal” with the Precious Blood sisters to catch up. After all, a year is a long time.
In mid-January, I felt the time was right for my 2009 retreat, and so I found myself welcomed into the sisters’ home once again!
I came asking for “the courage to love” -- however God wanted me to. I sensed that for the past 10 years, I’ve still been struggling with the fact that God was not calling me to religious life. “But I want to serve you in the best way possible, giving my life to you completely…” I’d say to Him.
And in reply, He came. “Isn’t your life about loving? Let yourself be loved by Me. That should be your concern, and not which way would be the best way.”
You know how you hear things constantly but then one day it actually clicks? Well, it happened, and I felt God’s grace flood my heart. I guess the way it is in our society, we have values that are business-like, ambitious, practical – the way I want things to be, the way I think is best. But again, God’s ways are not our ways. And I realized if I do not settle into the vocation he is calling me to and allow Him to love me there and I love Him back, I won’t become a saint. And I won’t be able to help other people become saints either.
My spiritual guide introduced me to two friends of his, St. Julian of Norwich and St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, who both spoke of just letting yourself be loved by God. A passage from St. Julian’s book Showings
“… I desired many times to know in what was our Lord’s meaning. And fifteen years after and more, I was answered in spiritual understanding, and it was said: ‘What do you wish to know your Lord’s meaning in this thing? Know it well, love was his meaning. Who reveals it to you? Love. What did he reveal to you? Love. Why does he reveal it to you? For love."
So I was taught that love is our Lord’s meaning. And I saw very certainly in this, and in everything, that before God made us -- He loved us. His love is a love that is never abated, and never will be. And in this love He has done all his works, and in this love He has made all things profitable to us, and in this love our life is everlasting.”
I understood much more deeply that nothing I can do -- bad or good -- will make God love me more or love me less. His love is infinite!
Thank God for that!