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Now in the second half of my second year as a novice, I am currently discerning the next stage of formation: temporary vows. For the past few months I have been reading about, discussing, and writing reflection papers on the vows of consecrated celibacy, poverty, and obedience. While my understanding and appreciation of these three distinct yet related vows has definitely grown over time, I am still trying to define how they speak directly to me and how I am called to embody them in this time, place, culture, society.
Fortunately, many sisters have assured me that I do not have to--and most likely will not--have it all figured out by the time I am standing in front of the congregation making my first profession. In fact, it is normal and appropriate to constantly be growing into the vows and discovering ever new ways that they help me give witness to the reign of God. Of course, it takes time to grow into anything, and that takes patience. So I find it fitting that today’s Blessed Among Us is Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, whose prayer Patient Trust calls us to trust in the slow work of God.
Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.
- Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ