Laudetur Iesus Christus!
Nunc et in æternum! Amen.
Before I get into today’s post, when I was at Mass this morning, the priest offered Mass for the feast day so he used the proper Collect (along with prayers from the common of religious):
O God, Who guided Saint Bridget of Sweden along different paths of life and wondrously taught her the wisdom of the Cross as she contemplated the Passion of Your Son, grant us, we pray, that, walking worthily in our vocation, we may seek You in all things. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
And then the Gospel from Saint Matthew:
While Jesus was speaking to the crowds,
His mother and His brothers appeared outside,
wishing to speak with Him.
Someone told Him, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside,
asking to speak with You.”
But He said in reply to the one who told Him,
“Who is My mother? Who are My brothers?”
And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said,
“Here are My mother and My brothers.
For whoever does the will of My heavenly Father
is My brother, and sister, and mother.”
And then, this Gospel itself also reminded me of the part of Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen’s The World’s First Love that I had read as part of my spiritual reading before Mass.
In the section I read, he defends the Virgin Birth of Christ as part of the teaching of the Church. He spoke of those who say that the Gospels can be used to prove the fact that Mary had other children in that there are mentions of Jesus’ “brethren.” Archbishop Sheen says that the Church’s teaching on the Virgin Birth was part of the Church’s tradition from the beginning and before the Gospels were recorded. He called the Gospels “secretarial reports of what was already believed.” He even mentions that even the early heretics did not touch the doctrine of the Virgin Birth because it was seen as an obvious reality.
But we’ll go back to the whole thing about vocation and following Christ. In the Collect, the priest prays that we “[walk] worthily in our vocation,[that] we may seek You in all things” and Christ Himself says in today’s Gospel that “whoever does the will of My heavenly Father is My brother, and sister, and mother.”
What Providence that this theme be so reinforced by both the Collect for the feast (which was purely on the whim of the priest) and the Gospel for the day.
It is in living our vocation, whatever it may be, that we grow in our relationship with Christ. When we do the will of God, our relationship with God is such that we become His “brother, sister, and mother.” That is, we become more perfectly members of the family of God since we are striving for uniting our wills and lives to the perfect will and life of God.
Walking worthily in our vocation.
Seeking Christ in all things.
Being the sister, brother, and mother of Christ.
I really, honest to God, do not believe in coincidences. I believe with every fiber of my being that everything is part of either the active or permissive will of God. Everything that happens to us, happens for a reason and it happens for our betterment.
No matter how hard and humiliating it may be.
I came to believe in that all the more last week.
As some of you who have been following my blog for the past couple years may recall, I, for some reason known only to God (not even I, in retrospect, am able to come up with a valid reason), did not have my driver’s license (awkward turtle). I knew how to drive but I had not taken my test. Correction: I took it in 2011 but I failed it because being the cocky child of God that I can be, I thought I would be fine and I wasn’t.
I had not taken it again until last Monday.
Basically from the day I came home from the convent, I was determined to start grad school. I had everything in place: I took the GRE (did much better on it that I had anticipated), had all the forms and recommendations in, I had been admitted … all I had to do was meet with my adviser and sign up for classes.
But there was one heckuva wall I had to scale: that blasted driving test.
So I began to pray constantly to the Infant of Prague that I would start grad school when He wanted me to and that I would have my license soon.
Fall 2012 semester began. No classes.
Okay, maybe He wants me to wait until Winter term.
Winter 2013 term. Nope.
Okay, Lord, I know this is on me but please help me.
All right, by 21 June (Saint Aloysiusmas) I will have my license.
Things were looking REALLY GOOD.
Nope. *mutters stuff under breath*
Then I just became a stubborn pain in the butt. I was going to start grad school in the Fall. I am sick of waiting.
So, I took the leap and signed up for my road test a few days later. My father took me out practicing and I had it down pretty well.
I was still freaking out. I went to Mass pretty much every day for the intention (along with others). I prayed my daily Rosary for it. I was offering two different novenas to the Infant of Prague for the intention for seven months.
There were times when I was really psyching myself out (I have this uncanny ability to do this quite effectively) and I would hear in my heart, “I am going to take care of you and everything. Be calm.” or something like that, then a feeling of peace would come over me.
So, I went to Mass that Monday morning and got ready to take my test. My father picked me up, we did some last minute practice, and then we headed over to the testing place.
I took my test (which took less time that I thought it would) and I passed.
We didn’t have time to go to the Secretary of State (my mother and I went the next day) so my father dropped me off at home and he went back to work (I know, I am very blessed).
I spent the next hour calling people. I called one of my priests at my parish who had been keeping me accountable (lol) and I called my spiritual director (because the email would have taken up his whole inbox with the egregious abuse of caps lock and exclamation points). I wasted minutes of their lives that they will never get back. I could not wipe the doofy grin off my face. I couldn’t stop going “Yay!!!!!”
And then, after I was done phone harassing people, I went and got the mail.
What was in the mailbox that day, you ask!?
The course offerings flier for the Fall Term at the Seminary (where I am going to grad school)! PROVIDENTIA PROVIDEBIT!!!
I took that as a little sign from the Lord that I would be starting grad school this Fall. The third time is the charm!
Now, all I have to do is get a car (which is going to be taken care of very soon (before the middle of August), meet with my adviser to plan my classes (and prove to him that I do, in fact, exist), and … START classes!
I am hoping that I can continue to teach Catechism this year (it all depends on my Monday class schedule) since I really enjoyed it last year. I actually did it last year to qualify for the 20 percent off my grad tuition for those who actively participate in the catechetical work of one’s parish (as a catechist, DRE, youth minister, young adult minister, etc..) If I can’t, I can still get the grant since I am part of the leadership of our vicariate young adult group. I am just sad that the lady with whom I taught last year is not returning. That made me sad. She was a really kind person and the kids loved her!
I can’t even tell you how good it feels to have that load taken off my shoulders. For the longest time, that whole situation with my license absorbed so much mental and emotional energy that I was drained internally though I may not have seemed as such on the outside. It was also a source of much embarrassment to me. Now that’s all gone. And it feels sooo good.
This whole situation has taught me how important it is to simply trust God in all things and it also showed me how much I do not trust Him though I may think I do.
Now, I have a promise to keep.
I made a promise to the Infant of Prague a little over a year ago that once I got my license, that I would offer the next nine TLMs I attended as a novena of thanksgiving for the favor granted. I also promised that I would promote devotion to Him as the Infant of Prague whenever I could. I have a little plastic statue of the Infant of Prague that is going on the dash of my car along with a mini plastic statue of Our Lady of Grace. One of my priests (the one I called and harassed when I passed my test) got me a visor clip with Saint Christopher and Our Lady of Good Help (the first approved Marian apparition in the United States) from her shrine where he made a pilgrimage recently (it was my present for passing my test).
My car will be so Catholic, even the Pope will have to respect. I have been told to have my new car blessed using the form in the Rituale Romanum (of course … Book of Blessings … pah) and I shall be working on getting a “drive to school” playlist ready (though my commute when traffic is favorable will only be about 15 minutes by freeway … the perks of living in an inner-ring suburb).
I hope to still attend daily Mass if not at my home parish but then at the Seminary (I think their morning Mass is open to commuter students, I will have to look into that) and hopefully maintain my habit of a daily holy hour.
I am looking forward to doing something that I have wanted to do since I was in seventh grade (yes, that long ago). I estimate that it will take me about 2.5 years to earn my degree if I take a whole semester to write my thesis.
I ask for your prayers for me as I begin this new chapter in my life. I am looking forward to this and I taking everything one step at a time.
I write all of this to remind you all (and myself) that while it can be the hardest thing to do (“the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak”) to submit oneself totally to the Providence of God, it can be the most freeing and joy-bestowing thing one can do.
I am so glad I can move on now with my discernment after feeling like it was on ice for the longest time. This new freedom will allow me to do things pertaining to my discernment (go on retreat, go to Adoration when I want to/am able to, etc.). I will actually be meeting with a woman from the Archdiocese about consecrated virginity in September.
I just have to keep my eyes on the prize. As my SD says (paraphrasing): “Keep moving and ignore the distractions.” And yes, some of the distractions are very niiiiiice. Some of these distractions make me think “angst muffins!!!!!” But I have gotten off the fence and am walking toward a goal/vocation. If the Lord doesn’t want me there, He has a way of picking me up and putting me where I need, even if I am kicking and resisting.
God is just awesome like that.
So I thank you all for your prayers and support! I continue to need them and be ever so grateful for them!
And, of course …