Patience As My Companion

Precious In His Sight is a painting by Greg Olsen
"Patience is the companion of wisdom".
-Saint  Augustine

There are so many times throughout the course of our lives that we may feel that despite our prayers they remain unanswered.  How can it be that I am praying and praying and yet nothing seems to be happening? Does God not hear my prayers, is He not listening to me? Why is God allowing this to happen in my life? I think we have all been there at one point or another when our frustration level is rising and our quest for hope starts to fade and all we are left with is a dimming light, or so we think. That little voice in our heads that is telling us to give up is not God, it is the devil trying to tempt us to stop our prayers, and to lose our faith in trusting the Lord.

Especially, those of us that live in the city know how our lives tend to be on fast forward since the moment we get out of bed in the morning, the day just progresses at the speed of lightening, and that is how we expect our prayers to be answered…at the speed of lightening.  When we do not receive an immediate response automatically we tend to jump to the conclusion that God must not be listening to us. Patience is not something we are accustomed to have in our daily lives, but it is important that we learn to have patience with God since He is always patient with us.

When circumstances take place that are out of our control and we are left dazed, hurt, confused, and rejected we know because of our faith that God is right there beside us because He never abandons us and whatever plan that God has for us will happen, but in His time. This  evening  on the Feast Day of St. Augustine, the Sisters of my former community will be celebrating a regular Vespers service, and I will not be entering into the novitiate. There will be no receiving of the white veil, no giving of a new religious name, and they will not be welcoming me into their community as they are not yet ready to accept and embrace young women who love their Catholic faith and have a strong desire to live out religious life in the new millennium. I pray that one day the community will want to have young women as newer members, and that they will become more open to the Holy Spirit and all that these young women have to offer to them as women of the millennial generation. Deep down in my heart I know that there will be a day when I do become a novice, and it will be a beautiful, long-awaited day that I will cherish for the rest of my life. It is true that patience makes the heart grow fonder, and I know that when I do become a religious sister I will be so filled joy and the light of the holy spirit that no one will ever be able to take that away from me.

As a young woman I was ready to commit myself to a religious community, and to prepare to become a religious sister, and it was because of God's will that I stayed in my previous community for almost two years despite many challenges and misunderstandings there, but I also know that it is God's will that I hold onto the hope of fulfilling my vocation to the consecrated life.  It takes time for those of us who have been new to religious life to adjust to life in community, but it also seems to take time, perhaps even a very long time, for a community that is not used to having newer, younger, vocations to adjust to us. Also, it seems that some communities are still struggling with their identity after the Vatican II changes, and are still in an experimentation phase that just does not apply to the new millennium or to younger women who are entering into their communities, which is just a reality.  Although, when young women enter a community and accept the members of the community as women of the baby boomer generation, unfortunately, some of those women from the older generation are not yet ready to accept women of the millennial generation and judge them as being Pre-Vatican II or "too conservative", when that is not even possible because young women were not even born during that time. Why do we have to place labels on one another? Why do we have to be liberal or conservative, can't we be simply CATHOLIC? Again, we all have to have patience because things will change, but in God's time, not our time. In the end I strongly believe though that God's will always prevails. I have hope that some communities will one day again place Christ back into the center of their religious houses, and that the priority of prayer and community will be bought back into their lives somehow, and that the individualism that has creeped into their homes will be cast out of their convents and monasteries.

We tend as human beings to think that we know what is best for ourselves and that God needs to listen to us immediately and take action right away to fulfill our requests.  The truth of the matter is that because we are only human we can get caught up in the moment and blind sighted by our needs and our wants and we can forget that the lives that we are living are also for God, especially when religious life is all about a life of service for the Lord.  We have to try to remember that even when things seem to not be going in our favor it does not mean that God is not listening to us, it simply means that we need to be patient because God has our best interest in mind, and knows what is best for us even if we think we know better. God does not always give us a definite "No," many times He is giving us a "Yes," but we have to "Wait," and in my case I know that God is giving me a definite "Yes," but I will have to be patient until the day that I am welcomed with love and acceptance as a young adult woman, and can become a religious sister.


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