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In The School Of Surrender

Have you ever wished for a direct message from God to find out what decision to make at an important crossroads? As a young adult, I remember a prayer rising up in my heart one night which became the catalyst for embracing my religious vocation. "Lord, what do you want for me?" It was an open invitation for the Lord to take the lead. It is a prayer that I go back to time and time again.

There are certain moments in life that can take us totally by surprise. The prayer that arises here is perhaps not, "Lord, what do you want me to do?" but rather, "Lord, what are you doing here? What do you want me to learn?" Sometimes amid trials, I can find myself relying solely on my own resources. Yet, Jesus wants me to depend totally on Him.

A few years ago, I was on the phone with my aunt who lives in Florida.

My family was bracing themselves for Hurricane Irma. They prayed and made the decision not to evacuate. One thing she said in that conversation has stayed with me: "The safest place to be is in the will of God." Her tone of voice reflected her deep faith in God's providence and protection.

Above the sink in my bedroom I have a small piece of paper with a quote by our beloved founder, Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR: "To accept the sufferings God sends is a sign of our love for God and our trust in His divine providence." Fr. Andrew was a wonderful witness of accepting the will of God in all circumstances with serenity. He liked to quote St. Teresa of Calcutta, "Take what God gives and give what God takes, with a smile." When things looked uncertain he would often say, "Whatever God wants."

I am reminded of a time when the Lord was teaching me to take what He gives and give what He takes. Some years ago, when returning from a pilgrimage to Rome, we found ourselves stranded in the airport. Shortly after going through security and sitting down at our gate, the ground crew went on strike. After a few hours of hoping that their strike would end, we resigned ourselves to the fact that we were not going anywhere. We then needed to reschedule our flights and find a place to stay. At one point, it seemed that we only had two options: either take an overnight train to an airport in Pisa or stay in Rome another five days. For a number of reasons, neither of these options was desirable. As members of our group were making phone call after phone call, one friend of ours turned to me and said with a bright smile, "We are daughters of the King. He will provide." That extra night in Rome proved to be the highlight of the entire trip for our pilgrim group. Our Father is King, and He did generously provide.

Accepting what God permits can take a lot of courage. Whether in the path of a hurricane or stuck in an airport, the Lord longs for us to trust in what He can do in the midst of what seems uncertain. With every new twist and turn of my daily life, I am learning to turn to Him with greater faith, confident that He knows what is best.

Sr. Catherine Mary, CFR



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