To be a Nun
The Cost ... and Joy
... of the
Call to Total Love
you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No,
I tell you, but rather division."
God would have our whole and undivided
hearts: He is a jealous Lover, when He calls we must follow.
He sets before us a choice, and asks that our love for Him be greater
than for all others. We sit, as it were, beside Saint Peter on the
seashore of the vast expanse of life, and hear, as St. Peter heard,
you love Me more than these?"
— even three
times He asks if we are certain, until we reply as St. Peter did
Lord, You know I love You!"
We are put to the test, like gold placed in a furnace
and the furnace is
the consuming fire of God's love for us to which the only genuine
reply possible to love is, "Yes Lord I will it ... too."
But there is always a price to be paid for answering the Lord's
call. The response to a vocation, especially a vocation from God
to be a nun, often and sadly leads to grievous divisions and deep
misunderstandings in our families, between our closest relations,
even our parents ... and the choice to respond to God is often at
the cost of choosing Him above all others
even at the cost of
all others. 2
We are asked to choose
But we are asked
to choose, to choose to become a Bride of Christ. God does
not force the ring of mystical marriage on our fingers. It involves
a dying to our own will and desires and
demands a radical response to Christ
that is exclusive to all others.
It is invariably a path of suffering, but a suffering with the promise
of unsurpassed joy. Our most intimate response is two-fold and one:
to love and to trust
to trust to the
Bridegroom that He will not abandon the Bride ... that He Himself
will pay our dowry by way of providing for the spiritual and temporal
needs of our loved ones, no less than the Bride He called to Himself.
It is a path of faith, and however long and dark the path,
it most often eventually resolves itself in reconciliation and peace
between the sister and her family. More often that not, with the
passage of time, her family sees that she is happy and fulfilled,
and ultimately the sister's joy becomes their own.
This is a Resurrection experience, for every vocation passes
through and lives the great Paschal mystery.
For some, sadly, a young woman's vocation to be a nun
a Bride of Christ
Himself — never
comes to acceptance within her family, among her friends, or both.
We see this very poignantly in the life of Sister Therese Benedicta
of the Cross —
Edith Stein. A convert
from Judaism, she was disowned by her family whom she loved deeply.
It was the greatest pain to Sister Therese to see her own mother
consider her as dead. Her profession as a brilliant philosopher
and her renown in academia she threw aside as of no account in responding
to the unyielding pursuit of the love of Christ for her. To the
death camp of Auschwitz ... to the very chambers and ovens of death,
she did not demur from her Beloved. Here we can see most vividly
the division that Jesus speaks of in today's Gospel.
But this suffering bears within it its own supreme victory, that
Jesus Christ has been chosen above
"Do you love
me more than these?"
In union with the crucified Lord the sister can say with all her
"Yes Lord, you know that I love
2 St. Matthew 10.37
A Poor Clare Colettine Nun
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