Through the earthquake, wind and fire

Even if it happens on the other side of the world, news of someone entering the noviciate or making vows always causes a little leap of joy and gratitude within me. The news is uplifting, and causes a moment of renewal of my own desire and commitment. And there's also the affirmation and the reassurance that, whatever else might be happening, here, in the world and in the Church, God still calls - and women still respond.

Over the past few years I have been especially moved by those responding to Love's call in the midst of so much turmoil, division and rage; even more so this year, in the throes of a deadly pandemic. There have been several entrances and first vows in this month alone, most recently in Hungary, where concerns about Covid19 led to Mass taking place in the open air safety of the convent garden. I recall my own first vows, in the relative calm and stability of 1996, and wonder about the hopes and fears, the fervour and desire of Agi and Alicia, Anita, Irene and all the others taking their first steps in the Society. I am in awe of their courage, though they would probably tell me it's not so much about courage as the right and obvious following of their call, from the God whose fidelity is unshakable and whose love is stronger than death. 

Yes, God still calls, in darkness as in light. He calls in tranquility and silence, but also, somehow, in clamour and disquiet. Whenever we sing the hymn Dear Lord and Father of Mankind we ask God to speak through the earthquake, wind and fire: and God does, just as he also speaks and calls through momentous events; through wars, turmoil and division, through instability and - now - a global pandemic. 

And I also know that regardless of context; in times of peace or war, stability or turbulence; whether we made our vows last week or in the last century, we are all offered the same grace of vocation: to give our lives for love. Our ministries and community life will change, just as our exploration and understanding of the Heart of Jesus will deepen and develop, but throughout, fundamentally, we will always be called to contemplation and mission, to plumb the depths of the Heart of Jesus... and, of course, by Love, to love... always to love.