“I’m singin’ in the rain, just singin’ in the rain! What a glorious feelin’, I’m happy again!” This song became my theme, my philosophy, my mantra, my life. I literally sang it wherever I went. It is true that after I had left my beautiful retreat, my circumstances in life hadn’t changed one bit; it was still raining and dark, but simultaneously, everything about me had changed. I was happy again!
Honestly, it was kind of a discombobulating experience because I hadn’t experienced true joy in such a long time. At first, I didn’t even recognize what I was feeling. I was amazed by the miracle of experiencing Jesus through such a simple prayer. I reflected on that encounter many times over the next few weeks, and I began to truly understand what my heart had said to Him that night.
In my darkness and despair, my heart had opened itself to the Beloved and called, “My Lord! Please, send me a friend.” In the moment, the Holy Spirit, who can transcend all barriers, leapt into my heart and answered my prayer.
When I asked for a friend, He gave me Himself.
Who could experience God in such a profound and intimate way and leave unchanged? Certainly not I, the lowest of the low. The flame of love burst forth from my heart and filled my soul with its heavenly Light. But at the same time that I was truly satisfied, I hungered and thirsted for more.
That fall, I began to attend a youth group at a beautiful Dominican parish in my area. Through the help of the youth minister and my newfound friends, I began to grow in faith and virtue. Naturally, it wasn’t long before I again began seriously discerning my vocation.
At first, I was adamantly convinced that I could never become a religious sister or nun because I just loved children too much. Fortunately, that excuse was obliterated because Sisters are called to be spiritual mothers to everyone. I continued to think of other excuses, though, which barred my search for truth (ex: I’m not worthy; God doesn’t really want that, He’s just testing me; I couldn’t stand to just pray all day long; etc.). Gradually, all the pieces in my vocational puzzle began to fall into place despite my protests.
A few weeks into the school year, I had been caught off guard by several hints dropped right in a row. The first happened when I told a group of friends about my vision of Jesus proposing to me, and one of them responded with, “You are going to be such a cute nun!” Later that same night, my dad asked me if I had considered becoming a nun. The next day, my little sister came home from school and asked me if I was going to become a nun. At this point, I feel like Jesus was chucking bricks at my head, wondering if I would ever get the picture.
The final piece fell into place during adoration. I was lying, prostrate, on the ground in front of the Blessed Sacrament, and I was randomly consumed with His peace. My eyes were closed, but I saw Him standing before me. At first, the vision was the same as when I was a child. Everything about it was so beautiful and serene and timeless; it was as if I had entered my own private sanctuary within the Heart of Jesus.
In the moment when I felt like I couldn’t possibly hold any more joy, the image faded and changed. In the new perspective, Jesus was no longer on that beautiful balcony of eternity because He had entered my dark little room. I could imagine Him saying to me, “You don’t have to come to me. I am already here; I am always with you. Open your heart to me, and I will give you rest.”
I knew what He wanted of me, and in an instant, I gave my Fiat. Immediately, I was filled to overflowing with peace, love, and joy. All of my worries, fears, and inhibitions were swept away in the currents of His mercy and compassion.
All things fell into their proper place throughout the rest of the year, and now I am pleased to tell you that I have been officially accepted for entrance with the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. My new life begins on the feast of St. Augustine, August 28, 2014. Please pray for me during this time of waiting, and know that I will always be praying for you.
Remember, if God can change the life of one selfish little girl, nothing can stop Him from changing your life too. Open your heart to Him, and be free.