Today I'm celebrating the seventeenth anniversary of the day I made my first vows. As anniversaries which don't end in a 0 or 5 rarely merit any sort of mention, my celebration is low-key, more a quiet savouring of memories, renewed wonderment at God's choice and call, and the chance to re-commit myself to our life and mission of making known the love of God's Heart. The savouring is full of gratitude: for God's endless patience and fidelity over the years, and for all the people and events, the graces, opportunities and insights which have been part of my slow, stumbling growth into the woman God created me to be.
The Gospel at my vows ceremony was the Visitation, containing the line Blessed is she who believed that the promise made to her by the Lord would be fulfilled. (Luke 1.43) And what was that promise? Steadfast, undying love; a journey into the heart of the world through the Open Heart of Jesus and vice versa; and the assurance that, whatever I may have thought I was giving up, all would be repaid in abundance with a hundredfold. And so it has been and so it is and will continue to be. The hundredfold will - I know - change form and substance, the journey into the Open Heart will - as it already has - bring pain as well as joy, but God's tender, unswerving fidelity will last forever. And in there lies plenty to savour, and the cause of my deep, quiet joy.