One of my best friends leaves to join religious life tomorrow. I’m very grateful to have been able to spend the evening with her last night, but I am teary eyed this morning as I reflect on times past. This young lady’s decision to radically betroth her life to Jesus is the kind of foolishness that St. Paul talks about in today’s readings.
It’s 2020, isn’t it foolish to give up everything to live a life of poverty? “Don’t you have dreams? What about your talents? Aren’t you wasting your life?”
These are all questions that she’s faced. But St. Paul’s message is all the more true in the face of these questions: “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
If the Gospel weren’t true, then religious life would be foolish. If Jesus weren’t God, then to give up everything would be foolish. If Jesus hadn’t risen from the dead, then dying to your own wants and desires would be foolish.
But He is and He did. Truly, God can’t be known via the wisdom of the world. “It was the will of God through the foolishness of the proclamation to save those who have faith.” Jesus Christ was crucified and rose from the dead. That changes everything.
The vows associated with religious life aren’t a sacrament like marriage and priesthood are. At first glance that might seem unfair, but it’s actually so beautiful. I heard the vocation director for the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT) explain it this way: marriage is a foreshadowing of heaven. Husband and wife witness to the life-giving love that God has and to the union that we will share with Christ in heaven. Priesthood is similar. Religious live the heavenly reality right now. There is no giving or receiving of marriage in heaven (Matthew 22:30). Religious live right the heavenly reality that we will all share at the end of times, please God.
So please pray for Emily and those that love her as she begins a new life with Jesus. And I challenge you to pray about “the foolishness of the cross.” Are you living counter-culturally? You don’t have to remove yourself from the world by joining a convent or monastery to do it. Root sin out of your life. Reject your earthly attachments. Give to the poor. Pray. Pray. Pray. God wants your heart.
-Amanda Benner, Director of Evangelization