In minor seminary, I first read Thomas Merton “The Wisdom of the Desert” Abba Lot came to Abba Joseph and said: Father, according as I am able, I keep my little rule, and my little fast, my prayer, meditation and contemplative silence; and, according as I am able, I strive to cleanse my heart of thoughts: now what more should I do? The elder rose up in reply and stretched out his hands to heaven, and his fingers became like ten lamps of fire. He said: Why not become fire?
While preparing for my final vows, I had a 7days canonical retreat and 30days spiritual preparation which our constitutions prescribe before final vows. During those 37 days, I had a great opportunity once again to read this beautiful story of Abba Lot and Abba Joseph, which actually made me to reflect deeply into my own spiritual life.
I later realized that, keeping practices, spending time in prayer, seeking God in all things and yet at some point even all this is not enough, but rather I must become like fire, becoming fire according to me is a symbol of purification and passion and above all things it is an encounter with the living God whose grace and love can transfigure me as His servant, for the goal of my religious vocation and the profession of my final vows is a total union with God, desiring and striving for this union with God, is actually the central part of my life as a religious. In prayer I become more like Him and able to give witness to his love and the good news of salvation, and I must be able to become all aflame with the divine love of God.
But most importantly, I was able to meet the Lord who created me and “saw all that He had made and said that indeed it was very good” (Genesis 1.31). Last week at the final Profession mass, I was reflecting upon God’s love in my life and looking at the events and all the people who compose it brings me joy. With grateful heart I say thank you God for this gift of vocation, professing my final vows in the presence of a community of people gathered around me in the name of Christ reminds me that this vocation is not my vocation but a vocation for the Church, for the world, and for everyone.
This commitment is not easy and for the most I am fragile, it is a challenge because I am unworthy and I realize that it is not because of me, but God. I know that my ‘boat’ will be like Peter’s buffeted by the strong winds and waves, but I believe He is there for me; “Do not be afraid, it is I” (Mat. 14: 22-23). I really feel happy and excited to profess my final vows as servants of the Paraclete, it is through His grace, my collaboration and others’ help, I finally made it. Therefore, everyone past and present that have made an appearance in my life has left an indelible imprint and they have contributed so much in my religious vocation and this is how far the Lord has brought me.
I can only hope that my gratitude can find its expression in prayer and in sharing with you that I am truly happy, I personally thank everyone one of you for your best wishes and prayers. May God bless each one of you and your communities as I hold you close in prayer today and always.