putting my tears into perspective

It was helpful to come home to this tonight:

http://www.npr.org/2010/12/22/131753494/for-these-young-nuns-habits-are-the-new-radical

Who would have thought that NPR (of all places) would feature the Nashville Dominicans?  I’m listening to the story right now, and it’s heart-warming to hear the beautiful voices of my friends Sr Beatrice and Sr Joan of Arc (my name-share-r, as of this past August).

Tonight I went to Compline to pray with the Sisters, knowing this was my one chance to see my own sister, at least from afar.  The chapel was so full — all the Sisters are home from across the country (and, literally, the world) — I was worried I wouldn’t see her.  But God heard my whispered prayer and I managed to catch a glimpse of her when the Sisters processed through the chapel for the Salve, again when she was returning to her seat, and then last when she was taking her books to her new choir stall assignment.

Unless my memory is misleading me, I think this is the first Christmas we won’t be visiting Sister.  It just won’t work out this year.  I won’t lie — it isn’t easy.  Christmas is the hardest time for me to give Sister to Christ.

But through my tears tonight in the chapel, I realized that in this suffering is great joy.  This is the life to which He has called her, and this is her path to Heaven.  In a very real way, that means it’s my path too.

I’ve been doing a novena to the Blessed Mother leading up to Christmas, and part of the prayer surrenders everything into her hands — “all I am and have, without reserve…”  As I was praying it tonight, I realized that my selfishness in wanting God’s plan to be mine, wanting Sister with me and not with her Sisters — is contrary to everything I’m praying with my lips.  The prayer continues, “… wherever you enter, you obtain the grace of conversion and growth in holiness, since it is through your hands that all graces come to us from the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus….”

This is a great grace.  The grace of surrender, of detachment, of loving Sister so much that I allow her to live her marriage to Christ.

It ain’t easy.  But it’s growth in holiness.

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