It's never too late!
Our human tendency is to set expectations for ourselves, resisting the creativity of the Holy Spirit within us. We want to know how and when things will take their course. When life does not go as we wish, we believe that God is not really listening to us. Some people think it is too late to explore new ways because they are too old.
Let us imagine what it meant to a 49-year-old woman to leave everything behind. When Philippine entered the Order of the Visitation in Grenoble, France, at the age of 18, she could not imagine the French Revolution that would force her to leave only five years later. She waited for nine years to return to her monastic life, and then for three years, she tried to reorganize the Order in Grenoble, with little success. Then, at the age of 35, she met Madeleine Sophie Barat, joining her with the Society of the Sacred Heart. This encounter gave her new goals and perspectives. Once again, she was able to leave everything behind. It was not until she was 48 years old that Philippine sailed to America, responding to her missionary call.
What did Philippine need to take these difficult decisions? Openness, faith, courage, patience, and strong inner freedom. She did not compare herself with others or her contemporaries in terms of how she evaluated her life or what she had achieved in her life so far. Instead, through constant prayer, with persistence in the presence of God, her deep desires were satisfied. The fire of the Heart of Jesus, the love and acceptance of her lived reality, gave her strength to endure.
Lord Jesus, create in us inner freedom, space where we can accept our reality with love. Open our hearts to listen to your Spirit, alive in our hearts and in our world.
Erika Tornya, RSCJ, Province of Central Europe, Hungary
Image: Erika Tornya, RSCJ