In the silence of our hearts and through the love we leave unspoken, a sacred space is prepared within us for the Lord where He may settle and fulfill every worldly desire of which we are, in our fallen nature, so guilty of allowing to dwell inside our souls until we reach perfection. Oh Lord, renew our strength by the grace of the sacraments, which You command us to receive throughout our lives. What glory is revealed each time we behold the small and yet magnificent presence of Your Son in the Holy Eucharist. Truly only by your mercy are we capable of standing before the True Presence without dying of joy for knowledge of the humility you possess, in condescending to come down from the heavens that we may consume You in our unworthiness.
These are the final pages of my journey to entering religious life. I’ll write a few more times before Tuesday afternoon, and then will be off to the Bethlehem Priory of St. Joseph for vespers with my parents, grandfather and the holy people who baptized me in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Oh what unfathomable grace has come from their spiritual guidance for the last 26 years.
It would be impossible for me to put into words how very thankful I am for all of you who read this. Everyone who has given so much in prayers and finances this year, to help me reach the goal that I truly believe was set by the Lord Himself – for me to enter religious life on this upcoming Feast of St. Augustine. I came home to spend the year with my family and enter religious life in August, 2013 – and by your generosity, my friends, the Lord has made this possible.
If I could attempt expressing the joy in my heart and how humbled I am by the mercy of the Lord, I might liken myself to one who was lost at sea, just a few miles from the shore with rest and relief in sight. But instead of having to swim against the crashing waves in an exhaustible effort to reach dry land, you have been like angels sent by God to rescue me, pulling me into the boat before I am fatigued, that I might have the strength venture further out to sea in search of others who need help instead of moving toward the shore where I will find my rest. Oh what strength comes from the gratitude we have when we are shown kindness by others! Oh Lord let me give thanks for this mercy I’ve been shown, by never resting until You have saved many tired, broken souls through the unworthy acts I offer You. On this Feast of the martyr St. Bartholomew let us remember that the book is called the Acts of the Apostles, for these twelve men did not merely stand and believe, but acted boldly and generously to spread the Gospel of the Lord, even unto death.
This week has been filled with many thank-you’s and some goodbyes, which will continue tonight as my parents welcome a few friends and some family into their home to pray with me one last time and crush a cup of wine as I tie up the last of my business before entering in less than 4 days now. I have been so preoccupied with clearing out my life (clothes/books/other sentimental, nostalgia-inducing worldly possessions/bank accounts, etc.) in the days since my last entry, that I have found only one occasion to go running! That has been quite distressing, but I offer this lack of time to the Lord and give thanks for having been given the strength to run so much this year already. Not running 5 times a week is just something I’ll have to get used to! I’m excited about going out for a light run tomorrow before mass, and possibly once more over the next couple days before I leave. My friends, if you are blessed with legs and the ability to run on them for any amount of time, rejoice! Offer a jog for poor sinners and my vocation sometime soon please J. There are so many people who are not able to run. Let us not waste this gift the Lord has given us. Be active and be healthy! You take the Lord into your stomach… make it a worthy place for Him to dwell.
Running aside, letting go of all the other worldly stuff has been quite an adventure in itself. Some of my friends have inherited some of possessions I valued most, my car is packed with things ready to be taken to charity on Monday, and I wait in hopeful anticipation of the arrival of the trash man on Tuesday… who will finally come and take away everything that no one else in this world would ever have any use for. Some of that stuff has meant a lot to me and there are many memories sitting in those trashcans outside my house. But they’re not really memories… just proof that stuff happened in the past. And there are no important experiences in life that require sentimental objects to be held onto as proof. When we begin to see this world through the veil of eternity it is much easier to find relief in the release of all things that we cannot take with us to heaven. And that is everything except our faith and the souls we reach through prayer and work.
There is nothing in the world that can satisfy. Only foreshadowing of the wedding feast in heaven. That being said, it sure is a lovely foreshadowing and even though I have been busy with preparation this week I have not been without time to look around at the beauty of the world and appreciate the glory of God that is revealed in it. I’ve been blessed to travel and experience much in my short life, and as the time draws close for me to enter into a community where I will leave behind much that the world offers, I give thanks to God for having blessed me with such a colorful youth. I see Christ in the faces of so many people now, almost everyone I meet! How beautiful to look into the eyes of another in the knowledge that we are each made in the image and likeness of God. We are truly blessed to be offered the gift of loving each other in this way. Oh Lord, if only our wholes lives could be lived as if we were coming to the end of our time in the world – that we might give you glory and praise you in thanksgiving at every given opportunity and desire nothing else!
I fear I share too much with you sometimes, my friends. But it is only because in my sinfulness I fear and worry that you will never understand how undeserving I feel of having your support. Soon my writing will cease in holy obedience. So let us pray together for a few more days.
St. Faustina & Bl. Rev. Michael Sopocko, ora pro nobis.