Life in abundance

I'm feeling tired now... Today I was one of the organisers for a province day, to welcome and present ourselves to two members of our Central Team - Hiroko from Japan and Carmen Margarita from Puerto Rico. In the process we were also, effectively, presenting ourselves to each other, as we shared the myriad ways in which we live our priorities of contemplation, community, justice, peace and integrity of creation, inter-cultural dialogue and work with young adults.

Some of the sharing was deeply moving. The many creative ways in which we answer the call to be the Heart of God on earth, and to express the love of that Heart to those around us. The older sisters who spoke of how they live their call to, and desire for, deeper contemplation in and despite the frustrations and limitations of the ageing process. The community which has grown in love through having to care for each other in sickness and diminishment. The thirst for spirituality and prayer we meet in so many people... And then there was the goodwill and generosity of those who contributed, especially those who gladly took on those "back room" tasks without which things would not have gone as smoothly. The whole day was energising and affirming, even among the busyness and running around.

We ended the day with Mass - the Mass for tomorrow, which as well as being Good Shepherd Sunday is also World Day of Prayer for Vocations. It was a real moment of Eucharist, of thanksgiving for all that we have received through our call to follow Jesus, and for all that will be.

The gospel ended with the words "I have come that they may have life, and have it in abundance" (John 10:10). Hearing them I recalled how I had felt about the hundredfold when I was feeling drawn to religious life twenty years ago. I knew Jesus had promised this hundredfold to those who followed him, but I was somewhat sceptical about it; it felt rather vague and insubstantial, compared with the many substantial things I was considering giving up!

Well, how little I understood of God's generosity! Over the past twenty years I have been discovering just how substantial the hundredfold is, and filled with life in abundance; the harvest is indeed rich and plentiful. My part in this is to recognise and receive that which God offers me with wide-open hands, whatever and however it may be... and to recognise the offer of life in even the most insubstantial wrapping.

Yes, I'm feeling tired, but it's a nice, satisfied tiredness; the sort you get after a day of life in abundance.