“I don't know Who - or what - put the question. I don't know when it was put. I don't even remember answering. But at some moment, I did answer Yes to Someone - or Something - and from that hour, I was certain that existence is meaningful and that, therefore, my life, in self-surrender had a goal.”
This quote, by the one-time U.N. Secretary General, Dag Hammarskjold, was the focus of my reflection for my novitiate entrance rite on January 11th. I chose it because it is honest. Hammarskjold owned that uncertainty is inevitably a part of one’s God quest, and yet, one is compelled to follow, to surrender, because that nameless “Someone” is of such infinite beauty that even without the certitude that rational comprehension brings, one knows on a deeper level that this “Something” must be the source of all meaning, all goodness, all life. I have only been in the novitiate a short time, but I feel incredibly fortunate that I have this precious year (the Year of Consecrated Life no less!) to better center my life on the great Mystery.
In addition to being an opportunity for deepening my interior life, the novitiate also affords me the opportunity to grow into the title of sister. The director of our community, S. Maureen Hall, explained that to be a sister means that one’s relationships change, not just with the other women in the community, but with the world. By claiming that title, we, in effect, affirm that every encounter is made with an open heart. This is admittedly a bit daunting. It means encountering all people as if they are brothers and sisters in Christ, and I know however wonderful my intentions, there are a thousand different things that hinder me from doing this as well as I would like. It makes me grateful for the line in our Constitution that says, “We become sisters of charity over a lifetime.” Thank God there is room for growth!
On this World Day of Consecrated Life let us hold one another in prayer: that all people have opportunities to deepen their encounters with Mystery and with one another.