– Br. Michael, ofm
“Do not, abandon that confidence of yours; it brings a great reward. For you need endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.” Hebrews 10.35-36
These two verses from scripture caught my attention. I see them as speaking to each of us in our call to live out our vocation. Regardless if we are married, single, a religious sister or brother or a priest we need a confidence to endure the journey of a life and stay in tune with God’s will. All of us are consecrated at our baptism. This gift is embedded with confidence and endurance to “run and not grow weary” (Isaiah 40.31), to “shine our light” (Matthew 5.16) and “bear much fruit” (John 15.5). Each of us are called forth in baptism to be heralds of the good news and the way we live our lives is the greatest witness of this. I am mindful of my baptism as I reflect on my life as a religious brother. It is in this being incorporated into Christ at baptism that then calls me to live my vows and vocation in this specific way.
February 2 is the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord and also celebrates World Day for Consecrated Life. This year being the 25th Anniversary of this designation. A day marked in the Catholic Church to pray for and be mindful of women and men religious – sisters, brothers, priests and hermits along with those who belong to secular institutes and those who make private vows. It is in professing the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience that we live out the promise of our baptismal call in these specific ways.
In living as a religious brother, I am constantly called back to not abandoning the confidence which is mine. This is not about being prideful and boasting, it is rather an anchoring in Christ. My confidence is found in Him whom I pattern my life after by living the gospel. It is this same confidence in which St. Francis trusted when he heard his call to go and rebuild the church. He didn’t set out to become a founder of a religious order rather he was expressing this confidence and living with an endurance the will of God the best he could. St. Francis is quoted as saying near the end of his life, “I have done what is mine to do, may you now do what is yours.” This conviction is established in a confidence that Christ was at work in him, that he was a vessel of the Holy Spirit for his time and place and that the promise of life eternal was at the heart of how he strived to live his consecrated life.
As I continue on in this consecrated religious life, I like St. Francis, continue to adjust my focus to see and profess more clearly “My God and My All” in my daily living. If I make my vows and not live them out well, they become empty promises. If I squander the confidence I have in self-sustaining ways, then I am forgetting that my vows call me into relationship with others. If I trust in my will forgetting that God is at work in me, I am out of step with my heart. These are the challenges I face as a religious in making my living authentic, honest and true. The reward is not earthly treasures – although tempting. The reward is not even in trying to live like St. Francis. The reward is in listening and being present to God who dwells in me. It is in doing this that I can live my vows well, walk forward in confidence with endurance knowing that God’s will is at work in me and the promises God makes to me are always kept.
How do you see yourself as consecrated?
Who calls forth this gift in your life?
“The life of the body is the soul; the life of the soul is God.” – St. Anthony of Padua
Photo Credit: Marina Raspopova