Prior to the noviceship, I certainly did not anticipate that the interior work of the noviceship would bring me into such acutely vulnerable places of my heart. In no way did I ever surmise how visceral it would be to face my naked self in those places into which God draws me. The soreness of encountering my shadow, however, is not all that I did not know about the noviceship. I also did not imagine the impact of grace—how deeply it touches my heart and urges me to connect to God’s beauty in people. How blessed I am for being called to be fully present in those countless passing moments of beauty that ordinary life bestows on me, such as the moments of gathering and dispersing, of welcoming and sending, of sharing and letting-go, and of forgiving and being forgiven.
Whether in shadow or in blissful beauty, I am gradually realizing that every moment is a choice between fear and love. Fear binds us to our ego, but love sets us free. Fear thwarts us from appreciating the beauty of life even amidst a chorus of beauty everywhere, but love impels us to choose to be grateful even in the hardest moments. Needless to say, we grapple with choice between fear and love day by day, moment by moment.
We are invited to learn the preferences of the heart of Jesus through our daily choices, including our failures. The life of prayer teaches us that everything, not only joys but sorrows as well, can reveal God’s tender and loving care. I am convinced that when our heartbeat echoes Jesus’ heartbeat, the confines of our shadow can be transformed into vast insights for a new life, just as a creeping caterpillar changes into a winged butterfly.
Reflection and watercolor by Min-Ah Cho, Novice of the Society of the Sacred Heart, USC Province