Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Everything is in God’s Hands

Time to come clean! Back in October, after my annual retreat, my liaison to the Provincial asked if she could talk to me. I thought to myself, “How unusual!” But, I dismissed it from my mind because my focus, at the time, was my retreat.

The week was truly grace-filled since I had renewed my belief that God truly loves me and knows what is best for me. Retreat is always a time of renewal as well as a time of infused grace. The week in October was truly a blessing!

After the retreat, the liaison stopped by the hermitage where I was staying. We began with pleasantries and then she asked me how my retreat was. I shared with her what I just told you. After this, she said, “God is asking of you a great sacrifice. He would like you to be the Assistant to the President for Assumption College for Sisters.” She passed me the job description for this position. (If you are interested to know more about the college, here is the link for an article about it that was published by America Magazine, or, you can visit the college website.) As she said this, I smiled. She declared, “You already know about the change? Who told you?” I smiled back and said, “No one but the Holy Spirit.” You see, He told me before I left for retreat that my time at the Diocese was coming to an end.

Before you bemoan this news, rest assured that I will continue to write for The Catholic Witness and come back to the Harrisburg Diocese for permanent diaconate formation classes twice a month!

So why am I telling you this? In a sense, it is a part of my “good-bye,” but it is also a way of looking at how God works in our lives. Let me explain. An important part of my spirituality, ever since I was a “baby Sister,” has been the Suscipe of St. Ignatius. It reads: “Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will.  All I have and call my own. You have given all to me. To you, Lord, I return it. Everything is yours; do with it what you will. Give me only your love and your grace, that is enough for me.” This is a prayer that I have said for years as I begin my day.

For me, this prayer is unique because it reminds me of the fact that I am NOT in charge. God is. You see, according to my personality, I am a planner. Even though I plan and plot everything in my life, this prayer reminds me that control of everything is in God’s hands. EVERYTHING. I am called to surrender to this fact, not to grit my teeth and just bear it. But rather, rejoice in the fact that His love for me is unconditional!

Hmmm. Rejoicing in the fact that I am not in charge? Yes, indeed! The ability to rejoice like this leads to gratitude. Rather than being in charge and stressing about which “plates are spinning” and which “plates are not,” I can be grateful in what IS. It states, “You have given all to me!” Gratitude is the remedy to anxiety and answers all the “what if’s” that life can throw at us. If anything, my transfer into a ministry that right now I know absolutely nothing about, has taught me to be grateful for the skills and the experience that the Diocese of Harrisburg has given to me! I am truly grateful for you all!

Finally, the Suscipe ends with us asking for God’s love. “The Scriptures tell us repeatedly that all creation is groaning and being reborn and moving toward completion in God. Every speck of creation, everything that happens, every kid kicking a soccer ball down a road in Guatemala, each office worker in New Delhi, every ancient great-grandmother in a rest home in Boynton Beach, every baby swimming in utero at this moment around the world—all are beloved by God and are being constantly invited by him to love. And all can respond.”1

This is the key for the entire prayer. Respond to God in love. We are called to respond to God in this manner at the moment we are conceived in our Mother’s womb.  This is the example that Jesus gave us from the cross. Love.

The world cries out for love. Remember the eclipse back in April? One commentator described his experience as a community being in love with creation as they watched the moon travel across the face of the sun. If those folks are in love with creation, why not look at THE Creator? This is where love truly is!

I leave my fulltime ministry at the Diocesan Center praising God that He put me here. I rejoice in the fact that He is certainly in charge of my ministry as I build His Kingdom in a different place than Harrisburg. As I go, I go keeping all of you in my prayers and thoughts. I ask for you to keep me and my new ministry in your prayers.

God bless you all!

1https://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/prayers-by-st-ignatius-and-others/suscipe-the-radical-prayer/

By Sister Geralyn Schmidt, SCC, The Catholic Witness

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