6.09.2008

Pros, Cons and the Movement of the Heart

I have a confession to make ... a few weeks ago I saw the Sex in the City movie. Perhaps it was because I had vows discernment on the brain, but there was a lot of food for thought in the movie on the topic of vows. Granted, in the movie, it was vows of the marriage variety, but commitment by vow was a definite recurring theme.

In one scene, Miranda is sitting in a coffee shop deciding whether or not to reconcile with her estranged husband on the Brooklyn Bridge (half way between their respective worlds of Brooklyn and Manhattan). I forget all the specifics, but a few scenes earlier one of her girl friends had told her that this wasn't a decision she could make in her typical lawyer fashion, with her lists of pros and cons. This was a decision she'd have to make based on her feelings. She'd have to listen to her heart for once!

Flash forward to the coffee shop scene. Sure enough, she's working on a very detailed list of pros and cons. She finishes her cappuccino, and is ready to head out the door. She catches a glimpse of herself in the mirror, and realizes she's got a milk mustache. The viewer is meant to remember an earlier scene in the movie where Miranda has a milk mustache and her husband points it out to her. She complains that he's always criticizing her, the tension mounts, and then he puts on a milk mustache of his own and asks if there's something she wants to tell him. It is a powerful moment of truth, love, and relationship, and you can tell that in the coffee shop scene, when she catches the glimpse of herself in the mirror, Miranda remembers this moment and finally listens to her heart. She takes the leap of faith and love and goes to meet her husband on the bridge to begin their life anew. In that moment, she (re)commits to their vows.

As regular readers know, I've been spending some time with the question of writing "The Letter" - requesting to profess my temporary vows as a Sister of St. Joseph of Peace. I found myself laughing really hard at the coffee shop scene in the movie, because I'd had a struggle in myself between carefully and logically weighing all the pros and cons and simply giving myself time and space to listen to my heart. I could very easily come up with a carefully crafted list myself. There's be entries in both columns to be sure, but in the end I'd probably realize that the pros are pretty incredible and non of the cons are deal breakers. I didn't write an actual list, but I did spend some time with the pros and cons. But I've also spent some time prayerfully with the amazing movements of my heart over the past year.

I find myself drawn back to the Margaret Anna quote I shared the other day: "The first step in every life of high sanctity is just today; is just this very moment. Why will we not take that step that will lead us into the deepest depths of the heart of Jesus?"

The letter's not due until the end of the week, but I wrote mine last Thursday - Founder's Day.
Jesus is inviting me on the journey to his heart as a vowed member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace. And so, on this Founder's Day, trusting in God's faithful love and relying on the support and example of our sisters and all others who touch my life, I express my deep desire to commit myself by vow to follow Jesus Christ.
Discernment in religious life is a community effort. The letter goes to our Congregation Leadership - I should have their answer within the month. The big date would be in October. This is but the first step of many into the deepest depths of the heart of Jesus. I'm happy to report that several days after writing and mailing the letter, my head and heart are still very much at peace with the decision.

2 comments:

Lisa said...

Congratulations and blessings on this very significant step in your journey in the heart of Jesus!

Kstar said...

Wow! What you wrote in your letter was beautiful and gave me chills. I wish you best wishes in this next step of the journey.