Sr Mary's Vocation
My Spiritual GPS (*)
“To rediscover God’s mercy by contemplating the Face of Christ”
Pope Francis proclaimed this message when he called for an Extraordinary Jubilee Year (from December 8, 2015 to November 20, 2016). That year was a gift of grace for me, for it was also my silver jubilee as a Missionary Sister of St. Peter Claver, a time to give thanks for the boundless mercies I have received from the Lord.
Contemplation of Christ’s Face has become my “spiritual GPS” in my vocation journey. As I pray, reflect on the Word of God, and thank Him for all His gifts in my life to this day, my heart resonates with the words of Psalm 118: “O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for his mercy endures forever!” This psalm verse expresses my profound gratitude to the Lord for calling me and consecrating me forever in this Religious family. The Lord sustains me with His grace to remain faithful to Him despite my unworthiness, my doubts, my defects, and my sinfulness. Many are the times I fail to follow my “spiritual GPS” and I end up failing in mercy toward others. My “spiritual GPS” keeps telling me “Recalculating!” when I detour from the Lord’s direction. The more I try to follow a wrong path, the more I lose my interior peace. That only returns in the Sacrament of Reconciliation when I ask for and receive His forgiveness.
God indeed is a Father of Mercy, giving me Good Samaritans throughout my life. Many have helped me in my vocation journey, especially my Claverian community, family, friends and benefactors. I so admire and believe in their faith-filled, generous spirit of collaboration with missionaries in carrying out the spiritual and corporal works of mercy. The elderly and the sick have kept the mission torch burning by offering their prayers and sufferings. Others have made numerous personal sacrifices—such as reducing their leisure travel and restaurant meals, or downsizing their food or clothes budget—in order to send donations to help missionaries. Many children have participated in these concrete acts of mercy by offering their spontaneous prayers and little sacrifices daily. All of these Good Samaritans reflect their own experiences of Christ’s love by their works of mercy. Blessed Mary Theresa Ledóchowska was convinced that only love for Christ must be our primary motive in practicing works of mercy beyond our own boundaries. Thus, participating seriously in the work of the missions is not enough with simple natural compassion. It must be stimulated and encouraged by a profound faith and an ardent love for souls. Collaborating in the salvation of souls is a work thousands of times more important than any other business in this world. (Conf. Zug 1909).
Divine Providence brought me back to our Generalate House in Rome from Toronto just in time to participate in various events of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy and to celebrate my Silver Jubilee. Being at St. Peter’s Square to attend the Masses for the opening and closing of the Holy Door with my Sisters and other pilgrims from all over the world deeply convinced me that Holy Mother Church gathered all of us for a personal encounter of God’s mercy.
On May 31, 2016, Father Renzo Marcolongo, Consolata Missionary, celebrated my Jubilee Mass in the chapel of our Generalate House and gave a very inspiring homily. During the ceremony, as I knelt before the altar to renew the vows of Chastity, Poverty, and Obedience, I intensely felt the Lord’s loving and merciful presence that filled my heart with an indescribable peace and joy. It was a grace-filled day that my whole being overflowed with joy and thanksgiving. Deo gratias! Alleluia!
Although the celebrations of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy and the silver jubilee of my religious profession have ended, I continue to “… give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for his mercy endures forever!” and to follow my “spiritual GPS” by the contemplation of Christ’s Face. In the Holy Father’s homily for closing the Jubilee Year of Mercy, he said that we “… have crossed the threshold of the Holy Doors, ... have tasted the great goodness of the Lord. We give thanks for this, as we recall how we have received mercy in order to be merciful, in order that we too may become instruments of mercy. Let us go forward on this road together.”
You and I are to embrace these words of the Holy Father wholeheartedly and redouble our efforts to do whatever we can to “be merciful like the Father” in living out our baptismal call to be missionaries to all we meet in our daily life, whether at home or abroad, so others might experience the merciful love of God.
* stands for God Pardons Sinners
Sr. Mary Dang, sspc