For God, For Others
Reflection by Sister Maria Goretti, OCD
“Sisters, there is nothing in our life that can’t be for others.”These words of Father Patrick Angelucci, SDB, the main celebrant and homilist for First Profession, continually run through my mind as I reflect on the meaning of my First Profession of Vows. Since First Profession, I daily reflect on the tremendous grace that my Spouse has so generously poured out upon me. My life is no longer mine. No, it belongs entirely to Jesus, my Community and the Church. Through my consecration to Jesus, my entire life has become one continuous act of worship—a statement of which I will never be able to completely plumb the depths. I am His bride, His beloved. I am all His and He is all mine. This is such a beautiful truth to reflect upon and as I continue to pray over this I realize that this must find concrete expression in my daily life, especially in my interactions with others.
As Sister Gianna and I joyfully processed out of the Chapel at the end of our vow ceremony having just received Jesus for the first time in the Holy Eucharist as His brides, I cannot help but think how fitting it was that we were the first ones to practically speed our way out of the Chapel. We had just been espoused to Jesus and we were commissioned to go forth in haste, like our Blessed Mother, to bring Him to the world! Yes, like her we are called to be “Christ-bearers”, as our beloved Mother Judith so wisely reminded us when we received the Holy Habit on the feast of the Annunciation. My hands must be His hands and my feet, His feet. But most of all, may it please Him to give me His Heart. The tremendous efficacy of the grace of my consecration can never be for me alone. Christ belongs to all people, so too do I belong to all people. His whole life was for others and I pray daily that not a single moment of my life will be wasted in useless worry or distraction so that I may also assist Him in His work of salvation for the whole world with as much love and fervor as I can. To be the spouse of Jesus means that as Saint Paul says, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”
There were so many special graces on Profession day, including having my beautiful family and religious Community present to witness my espousal to Jesus (the “best Son-in-law in the world” as my Mom loves to call Him!). My parents are the ones who first fostered a love for our Lord in my heart and the rest of my family helped to deepen this love throughout my life. It was only fitting that they should have a front-row seat to witness the blossoming of the seed that they had planted in my heart years ago.
I will never come to the end of my gratitude to God for the gift of my religious vocation, particularly to be a Carmelite Sister of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles. As Sister Gianna and I turned around to process out of the chapel, I saw a sight that I can never forget: over a hundred of my Sisters looking back at us, smiling at us, loving and praying for us. Here was fidelity looking back at me, a radiant glow reflecting from their faces which can only come from knowing, loving and generously serving the Beloved – and now I join them in running the race in the spirit of our dear Mother Foundress, Mother Luisita.
Yes, there is nothing in our lives that cannot be for others and may it please God that by His grace this will be true in my own life.