By: Sr. Joy A. De Vera
All I can recall is I was kneeling in the Novitiate Chapel on the day before my vow. My parents and siblings were behind me. Mama was saying her prayer as she put her hands on my shoulder.
“Panginoon, ito po ang aking anak na si Rosell Joy… ngayon ay tinawag mong si Sr. Fatima Joy. Inaalay ko sya sa inyo. Salamat at tinawag mo sya. Salamat at binigay mo sya sa amin. Itong key chain na puso, na sumisimbolo ng kanyang mapagmahal na puso. Binigay nya ang lahat ng pwede nyang ibigay sa amin.”
My heart melted upon hearing those words from the lips of my mother. Well in truth, she has the biggest heart to love. Among all of my family members, she’s the one with whom I never heard any single hesitation at all when I lay down my plan of entering religious life. As the mystery unfolded, I realized that this is how deeply consumed she is by the love of God.
When you love God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your might and with all your strength, it is so easy for you to love others as well. Like my mother, who never think of herself alone but just give and continually gives. Her capacity to love becomes my inspiration. Always willing to sacrifice, because her heart has so much capacity to love. “Love is something that you give away” as the song line says. You will always be filled and refueled by this enormous energy that cannot be contained. So, you are always ready to share it with those around you.
In the life of a religious, there were moments that my capacity to love was tested. There were moments when I was confronted by doubts, worries, uncertainties and so much darkness. Moments that I cannot see myself anymore as love bearer or I cannot see any reason to love at all. Then, I realized that loving is also a grace and a choice. You choose to love even there’s no reason to love at all. Love will be purified because I learned that loving is not just merely a feeling. Love is not just an emotion but a motion. It is an act of wanting the highest good of the other. A friend says love is not a noun… it’s a verb. It’s an action word. I heard in one conference, “Love is beyond definition.” The desire to love will be purified by the love that is ever enriching and fulfilling. A love that can be manifested even in far distant places. A love that is beyond the physical. A love that can only be understood by the language of souls. Love gives life and inspiration, so I can be fully alive and connected to share more and do more for the extension of His Kingdom.
When I kneel down and pray in silence, my dreams become bigger. I dreamed and hoped for many wandering souls like me before, to meet the God of wonder. I pray that their eyes will be converted to get to know the God of love. As I “WILL” to offer my love for God in this life of prayer and sacrifices, I hope and pray that those eyes blinded by hate, pain, and betrayals will be enlightened by the light of God’s love.
When I was staring at the dark clouds last night, I realized the reality of the psalmist who prays, “dark is not really dark after all”, because God made the stars and the moon to light it. God is ever present there. In profound silence and painful tears, I know there’s an intimate movement within me as I allow God to embrace me and wipe my tears in the midst of that darkness. May I inherit that big heart of my mom and my God in the midst of all these chaos as I unite myself to all those who are suffering in the world today.
May my prayer reach your heart, dear wandering souls and may we learn to fixed our gaze to the wonder of what God can make through us and for us.
My prayer for you – Let us always choose to love and become His love on earth. I pray that someday, all of us will gather and say, “I am loved and I am made for love and to love!”
Photo Credit: Photo taken by the author. Actual “Heart key chain” offered at the altar.