violette

violette
Heart's ease - an infusion was said to help mend a broken heart

Sunday, 10 September 2017

I have chosen you

On Thursday twelve RSCJ from around the world began probation - a group programme of preparation for perpetual vows, lasting almost five months. In her opening conference our Superior General invited the group to hear anew and reflect on Jesus saying to them: I have chosen you. She told them:

Each one of you will discover again during these months what God’s choice to call you to the Society of the Sacred Heart means in your life now. God did not choose you to be a hermit, or to live in a monastery, or to be in relationship with only one person in marriage or a partnership, or to live blessed singleness.

God chose you to be a woman of his Heart, a Religious of the Sacred Heart who lives her call within a community of women, all of whom commit themselves to live the charism of Sophie to “discover and make known the love of the Heart of Jesus”. My prayer is that you will help each other live this call of love.

And indeed, we are, each one of us, chosen and called to a particular way of life, for a specific purpose. The call to religious life, for example, carries within it calls within calls, layers which we uncover over time and in different ways and places, finding new depths and meaning. And probation, with the intensity of its focus plus the full Spiritual Exercises, is one such place, allowing time and space in which to hear God say this is what I have chosen you for, and explore what this might mean for us as individuals and community. This was certainly my experience, and as I read these words I was reminded of God's choice and call, heard especially during my long retreat and summed up in the refrain to the psalm at our profession: Yo te he elegido para amar... I have chosen you for love...

But then, re-reading those words, it occurred to me that they are also what we say to God. I have chosen You, we effectively say, publicly and emphatically when we enter or make vows: I have chosen You, and I do choose You, as the One who is more for me than wealth, autonomy or creating a family. And it is what we can also say, daily, unconsciously, in smaller, often hidden ways, sometimes noticed and costly, but at others increasingly second nature: I choose You... when I let go of something cherished... when I prioritise more time for prayer... when I make an effort to be (and not just talk about being) generous or selfless... when I opt for the common good... when I allow grace to work in me...

I have chosen you, says God, time and again, whispered or with insistence... and I choose You, we are invited to echo in reply...

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