By Sr. Judy Donohue
In every thing give thanks! ~1 Thessalonians
Today, as I was eating lunch with three sisters in my community. I asked them “What are you grateful for from 2015?” One referenced the three aims of Pope Francis letter on consecrated life. He suggested looking back at the past with gratitude. The other aims of religious are to live the present with passion and embrace the future with hope. Keeping Jesus first is the key. To grow closer, deeper to God. This is achieved through faithfulness to prayer, reading scripture and praying for the grace to love God wholeheartedly.
I appreciate Sisters who share about their personal relationship with Jesus. Making God personal makes God real. It encourages me so much when Sisters speak about their testimonies. Sharing what God has done for them inspires me to consider what God has done for me. Hearing how God helped them through difficult times is reassuring that God will do the same for me.
Another sister was grateful for community. As I struggle with community as a first year novice, this experience challenges me to see the benefits of community. Living with others reveals your selfishness, your ability to love and forgive. Some days I have it, others I don’t. Sometimes I’m the one who is merciful, and other days my community is merciful to me. As with all the various vocation lifestyles, there will always be ups and downs. We are joyful when we do what God created us to do.
Just think, if I did not have faith or my community, where would I be? Miserable, lonely, wandering in life yet searching for direction. I am called to develop my prayer life, relationship with God and my spiritual life. As I am joyful, people will wonder what makes me tick. They may want what I have. Faith is caught more than taught. St. Vincent de Paul suggests not just to feed the poor, but to give them Jesus, feed their spirits. The bases of my joy is my personal relationship with Jesus. This intimate communion with God guides me, gives me peace and hope. I am most grateful for God’s presence and help. In 2015, I am grateful for the grace to persevere when I want to give up. What are you grateful for?