Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Excerpted from my SMME entrance application:

I want to enter the SMMEs for a few reasons. The first year of my discernment from 2006 through 2007 was spent in prayer and I did not have a spiritual director at that time. I was in contact with a few different religious orders: Mission San Jose Dominicans, Daughters of Charity and School Sisters of Notre Dame. I liked different things about each one, but I soon recognized an undercurrent of apprehension: were those convents the right place? What did they think of me? Would I fit in? Why don't they practice their traditional charism? why the denuded chapels? why do they have to schedule in community time or prayer time together? why this and why that? When I stepped foot into the SMME motherhouse that Friday evening none of those previously ever-present questions arose in my mind. I was completely focused on God and on just enjoying myself during the retreat. I felt this sense of peace within myself, that I no longer had to search and question and research; no more comparison and contrast with my beliefs and practices with that of the religious community. I felt that it was over - which is why I so readily asked for papers Saturday morning before that evening's Eucharistic Adoration - I had already asked Jesus Friday night where He wanted me. He gave me the answers one after the other. The whole weekend God was saying "Yes, this is the place" in all those special ways He does in our own understanding of Scripture, prayer, music, people, etc. Lastly, as I was leaving Sunday to go home, I tried to see myself at the SMMEs just as I had tried with the MSJ Dominicans, the DCs, and SNDs; never had pictured myself that way before, so fully.

I'm very attracted to the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist way of life and community for reasons that echo the above. In the years since my Confirmation I have had to re-teach myself the mechanisms of the Catholic Church. I've had to learn about charisms, evangelical counsels, virtues of the flesh and theology. Few religious orders and communities actually practice a vow of obedience and poverty as I have seen in the SMMEs. There is a true sense of community: in the Eucharist and prayer life, in your daily life, and your interaction with each other. The vows and community life are faithfully lived out - sacrifice is not questioned, it's expected. I'll never forget the visit I made to convent here in Los Angeles and I was asked "Why should you have to sacrifice XYZ?" I don't have to sacrifice. I could enter a religious community that would permit me to own things - but then I'm not really, fully loving God, am I? Isn't that Who this is all about? God invites us, we say "yes," and I'm only supposed to give up what I think I can manage? No. I'm reminded of the verse in Revelations that describes what type of service and love God enjoys -- either be hot or cold, but not lukewarm. The Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist are definitely filled with love and passion for God and interested in doing His service and His will. Oh, and you're faithful to the Magisterium.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

entitlement 2

Entitlement is an attitude that says you have a right to recieve something. In looking it up in the Dictionary, it's also a term the government uses to address things that should be guaranteed to a citizen. That's how this world works - everyone's got a right to this or that and it's all based on how each person views something. There's no absolute standard, I'm no more right than you are wrong; I wouldn't even be able to say that you are wrong, because in your special grand scheme of things you are right.

On the other hand, there's someone called God, and the spiritual is just as real as the material. You know the ozone layer exists even though it cannot be seen, and bacteria exist in uncooked food even though you can't see it, feel it, or taste until it's too late. Same with God, you can ignore His commandments and precepts and have your "fun" and raise "hell," but once you die, then you will see, hear, know the consequences. You only know the difference until it's too late. This isn't about entitlement, but merit. Have you lived a life that merits eternal reward or punishment? Do you merit eternal reward after a little purgatorial refinement, or straight to punishment?

...Thoughts of mine after Thanksgiving Day with relatives.