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2017年4月

2017年4月 9日 (日)

Dared to be different……..

Dared to be different……..

Reminiscing on the trajectory of my life over the past years, I thank God for the countless blessings that sustained me and led me to recognize his presence in all the events, to love him more deeply and to turn towards him for my every spiritual and material need.

 

 Living a life in the dormitory in Manila, away from the comforts, warmth and security of our community, life was in no way a smooth sail for me in the initial two years.

 

 I was often confused and overwhelmed by my own weaknesses and limitations at the face of making decisions all by myself.

 

I often felt exhausted and wearied due to fear of making mistakes and thus disappointing others.

 

However, I was never discouraged. Even in the midst of my anxieties and fears I was able to feel safe for I knew the Lord would not let me down simply because it was HE who initiated to prepare me for his mission.

 

Therefore, I always perceived these years of my studies as a mission being entrusted to me by the Lord. This realization impelled me to push through with determination every challenge that came on my way.

 

Thus, trusting in his faithfulness I began to spend more time in prayer imploring his guidance and strength. I would just sit in the back pew, talking to HIM about everything…..every single concern and apprehension that had been weighing me down.

 

 I just loved to be there whether I was happy, sad, frazzled or no matter how I felt. The dormitory chapel consequently became my sanctuary, my refuge where I often regained my tranquility and strength during my awful moments of distress and loneliness.

 

 I learned to listen to God’s voice precisely in the midst of my many concerns. Eventually, these profound experiences enabled me to be attuned to the promptings of the Lord and seek what the Lord really wanted of me every moment.

 

 There were times I struggled with ambiguity, not being able to comprehend what the Lord really asked of me at the moment – precisely those were the times, I would say, the Lord taught me to be docile and to keep on believing in his power. I felt that God has been also teaching me through my struggles and vulnerabilities how to balance my life of prayer and the demands of my studies.

 

Moreover, through these profound experiences I came to realize that our faithfulness to our prayer and the spiritual exercises would bring incredible blessings and graces to our lives; and that it is only by persistent prayer and watchfulness that we can keep ourselves ever loyal, humble and interiorly truthful to the Lord in every detail of living our vows.

 

 I also recount the instances where I felt how challenging and trying our religious life is without an exterior distinguishing sign. In this regard, I would say that my greatest pain stemmed from this as I found myself often targeted as an ‘object of criticism’ by other Indian priests and nuns especially in social gatherings and in the university. For some, it was a ‘green signal’ to use the freedom as one wanted as no one would spot you as a Nun.

It was indeed frustrating to endure some of the hurting remarks and comments that were hurled at me by some priests. Though very devastating, this ‘sense of feeling lost’ in the group kept on reminding me that living with the Lord demands remarkable courage and faithfulness and this is going to be very much part of my life.

 

 Obviously we do require his grace to strive every moment to make the Lord and not the world, the Lord of our hearts. I thank God for these insights for I know they are enough for the rest of my life to live on.

Furthermore, I would say that these intense experiences not only led me to appreciate God’s providential care but also disciplined and taught me to set limits to my wants and to practice the ‘honest necessity’ in my real life situations. 

 

 I find it worth mentioning here because I had several instances where I explicitly struggled to act against my inclination to possess material things especially when everyone in my friends circle would have convincing reasons to acquire them.

For me personally, I had yet another vital reason to question my conscience on these unhealthy inclinations because I was fully aware of the trust the Society has in me and hence never wanted to do anything that would break it. 

I knew as well, that it would displease the Lord who has always been faithful in his promises to me.

 

As I now recount all these, it becomes more persuasively clear to me that the more I would acknowledge and communicate my weaknesses, fears and flaws to the Lord, the more I am qualified to receive in abundance his graces and mercy in my life.

 

 Undoubtedly, our every effort to align and pattern our lives to that of his divine will would never go unrewarded by the Lord. Upon this understanding, it is even more certain to me that entrusting all to the Lord is the most that I can do - the rest HE would ….for HE never fails to provide his designs.

Likewise, I owe greatly to the Lord all my academic achievements and I do not find anything meritorious in me to claim it as my own. Rather, I would like to perceive and appreciate it as an expression of his great love and mercy extended towards me through my Society.

 

 I also thank the Blessed Mother for her unceasing intercession to her son for me. I have no doubt that she has played a very decisive role in upholding and nurturing my faith and trust in her son Jesus.

 

That’s how my personal relationship with the Lord has gradually grown to find more inner freedom, meaning and fulfillment over these years.

I pray that, true to our charism, I may learn amidst all the challenges and crises to respond to the signs of the times in wisdom and truth, in love and compassion as a true Daughter of the Heart of Mary.

As I continue to sing  my magnificat, I thank God for all those who  journeyed with me during the past seven years. 

 I owe greatly to Hazel D’Lima, the then General and her Council and  Carmen and the Council, for their encouragement  and  timely support during  the conduct of my masteral and doctoral studies in Manila.

I also extend my sincere thanks to my provincials Philo D’Souza, Jacinta D’Souza, Junko Noma,  Noriko Shimizu, and  the superiors Cicily Thomas, Joyce Joseph and the community and the novices of Davao( Philippines).

 

They played a very influential role in my life by trusting and giving me enough space to grow.

Though Aurolina , Mary Joseph and Kiyo have gone back to their respective countries, I sincerely thank them too for their unending prayers and support that kept me motivated, focused and hopeful.

I remember with profound gratitude  Vimalalayam community for their help during the data collection and finally I thank my family for their prayers and sacrifices; most specially I thank my Mother for helping me believe that there’s nothing that I couldn’t do.

 24th October, 2016

 Wilsy Francis

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