1995.  It was Holy Thursday.  The act of Adoration and contemplative presence was new to her.  she practiced it this one night a year and in the third year, a new direction was revealed to her. Each of the previous two years she had placed herself in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament at the Altar of Repose.  The first year she was losing a friend and God showed her new ones coming to heal that loss; the second, likewise, God helped her to see the true love of others for her.  In the third year she listened and God uttered vocation in her heart. 

The voice spoke deep within her.  “Be a nun.”  In language she could comprehend (at that time she didn’t know the difference between a nun and a sister), God’s voice spoke within her heart.  It was as if the voice came from within her yet wasn’t her voice and somehow came from above and to the right of her as well.  It didn’t make sense to her then.  she certainly wasn’t sure it was God’s voice.  she wondered if her imagination was playing tricks on her.  she engaged with the firm and gentle voice for hours. 

“What?  You’re kidding, right?

“Be a nun.”

“Um, I don’t think you understood the question,” I suggested, “let’s try again.  What do you want me to do with my life?”

“Be a nun.”

“No.  That’s not the answer I’m expecting.  What????”

“Be a nun.”

She asked for a sign.  (“Danger, danger, Will Robinson.” The robot’s warning from Lost in Space still echoes at the thought.)

The next evening, at the Good Friday service, after receiving the Body of Jesus, she returned to her seat, but not to the self she knew before.  In her imagination a great wind rumbled.  The “house” she had built for herself, which had become unsafe, began to tremble.  The wind raced through and knocked down the walls; they tumbled down like the stray, toothpick light boards they were and the wind swept over the foundation.  She shook in her chair and wept. 

And she prayed, then asked her priest friend if she could talk with him after the service.  He was exhausted but agreed.  she waited for him in a small chapel, the tabernacle open and empty in front of her.  No Jesus in there; “somehow in here,” she thought.  As she waited, she warred within herself.  Her friend was tired, wasn’t he; he didn’t have the energy for this foolish conversation.  If she loved him, she’d let him get home and to bed.  It’s the Triduum after all; there’s so much going on.  Anyway, it’s just her imagination working overtime.  “I’m just tired too.”  And yet… 

Later, when he came to find her, she told him she was fine: she didn’t need to talk that night, it could wait.  she remembers he said, “You don’t look fine.” But she insisted.  she moved to the outdoor fountain and prayed some more and she got angry; angry with herself, she thinks, for not having the courage to move forward in understanding what was happening within and to her.  Angry too with God for making this difficult.  She jumped up, threw the books she had with her on the ground and cussed up another storm.  Then she marched to the door of the church and rang the bell.  Her friend came down and she said she was wrong; she really did need to talk.

“Sounds like vocation,” he said.  “I’ve been expecting this for some time.” 

Advertisements