It was a cool summer’s evening. The sun was beginning to set. We had spent the day outdoors in the beauty of the Hudson Valley. Surrounding us were rolling hills as far as the eye could see, wisps of scattered hay across the land after harvest, cows grazing beyond the fences, and a sky so vast that it seemed to never end. It’s one of the most picturesque places in New York. It was dusk and the colors were beginning to be brilliantly painted across the sky as if designed just for us: oranges, pinks, yellows, purples. We felt the soft breeze upon our faces and the grass in between our toes. From a distance, our Superior was heard: “We’ll pray Vespers now.” Since we didn’t have access to a chapel or the Blessed Sacrament, we gathered together, and Sister said, “We’ll pray facing each other. Without the Blessed Sacrament present, you are the closest thing to the Tabernacle.”
Why is it that this silent and hidden gesture became the place where God’s grandeur was revealed? In these days, where history is being made and where what seemed commonplace is now being pined after and dreamed of —namely, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, Confession, and close gatherings with loved ones— I think back to this memory, something so simple, and yet so profound.
Truly, the reality that God dwells within each one of us can be passed over as a “nice truth.” And yet here we are, in a place we’ve never been before, searching, seeking, wandering, “’Have you seen him whom my soul loves?’ (Song of Songs 3:3).
Without the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, it seems to me that an invitation has been given; that is, to be reminded of the reality of the indwelling of the Trinity in our Baptized souls. I hear the Lord saying again and again, “You are the now the tabernacle.”
On the 25th anniversary of the Encyclical, Evangelium Vitae, we remember John Paul II’s words as he writes, “The life which God gives man is quite different from the life of all other living creatures, inasmuch as man, although formed from the dust of the earth, is the manifestation of God in the world, a sign of his presence, a trace of his glory (Gen 1:26-27, Psalm 8:6.)” (#34, emphasis added)
In C.S. Lewis’ book, The Weight of Glory, we hear an echo of these words, “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations–these are mortal… But it is immortals whom we work with, joke with, marry, snub, and exploit. Immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbor, he is holy in almost the same way, for in him, also Christ, the Glorifier and the Glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden.” (pg. 45-46, emphasis added)
Perhaps now is a time to seek the glory of God within—in me and around me—my parents, my siblings, my friends—and to worship Jesus, the Lord of Life, who reveals Himself alive within us. If all of creation sings your praises, Lord, so will I.
Sr. Ann Immaculée, SV
Blessings and prayers during this exceptional time of grace, full of daily surrenders, constant opportunities to grow in trust and endless ways of creatively loving. Jesus wants to shed light into our hearts- healing, reconciliation in families, receiving the other with new eyes and a new appreciation.
We had to cancel our Come&See in April and our Discernment Retreat in May due to COVID, but know Jesus is Sovereign Lord and about a mighty work in the hearts of those He is calling at this time. God willing, God please—-we will be hosting a Come&See in Denver in October and New York in November. We will have a better sense in the coming month how the reopening will go.
If you haven’t had the chance to fill out a webform, please feel free to do so here and we can begin a conversation about the Lord’s invitations and the desires of our feminine hearts! https://sistersoflife.org/vocations/
Also, in this time of reconnecting because of sheltering in–we’d love an update! Are you married with a 3rd on the way? Going for the Masters? Taking a mission year? Taking a pause? Ready for a next step? We’re for you and excited to know what the Lord is doing!
You are in our daily prayers, in Christ, our Life,
Sr. Bethany Madonna