I've been in Cambridge since yesterday evening and have been staying at a friend's house. I am planning on staying until tomorrow, when I will return in the evening. I went to Mass this morning at OLEM, my secondary school's parish, where I used to go to as much as I possibly could. It was nice to be able to go there for Mass and give everyone a shock about being back. The Sacristan who played a key role in my "undercover instruction" while I was still (by Canon Law) underage, said, "Welcome home" to me and was glad to see me. I haven't had a chance to have a proper catch up with him, but I hope I will tomorrow when I pop in for the Toddler Group - another one of my really random groups I loved to go to while at college. I was at the Rosary group this morning after Mass and I really enjoyed the opportunity to lead the Rosary again - I get to do that every time I pray the Rosary with that group. It is a bit unfortunate that I don't get much of a chance to do so in St. Antony's - it's such a big parish and there are always loads of people praying the Rosary together that I have only been able to lead a decade once...but then again, I should rejoice that so many people would want to come together for such a wonderful devotion - O Lord, forgive me for being selfish!
I've met up with a lot of people, including my Theology teacher from my much loved Catholic girls' school. We went into the staff room for a tea and a chat - I must admit, that was always a forbidden area for us as students, so it was rather exciting! :P (I know, call me a child, but it was a revelation in itself!) We spoke about a number of things and had a very interesting catch up. I also saw some of my other teachers, which was lovely. My Theology teacher had to share me with everyone else too - it got to a point where she was just sitting there patiently waiting for everyone to speak to me so she could continue our conversation. Going back to school was a nostalgic experience, it reminded me of how happy I was there, despite having to cope with my mother's torturous endeavours to try and stop me embracing the Catholic faith and being in a Catholic school. It never worked, I tell you, and it never will stop me. That faith I have in my heart, the thirst I have to grow in love and live in a deeper and deeper union with Christ will allow me to persevere, to continue to practice the faith - it will always win - in my heart and in my mind, whenever people tell me things and try to discourage me from believing, an inner voice is saying to me, "This is between me and God, and in the end, it will be me and my soul before the Lord, NOT you people who try and lead me on a path that leads astray" - and this is going round and round in my mind and in my heart so strongly that I cannot stop it - and believe me, I dare say I've tried, just like I've tried to ignore the "urges to pray", and where has that led me? Only to frustration and wanting it more. I have reached a stage where if I believe it is the Lord's will for me to do something, I will respond as generously as I can, and not try to do otherwise. I keep this always in mind when praying, that it is not my will, but His will. I do not believe one could ever truly find fulfilment in doing everything their way and "storing up treasures in this life". My family's aim is to be rich and wealthy in material goods, but mine is not. Perhaps that's partly the reason why they are worried, why they are so concerned and desperate to separate me from my devotion to Christ. I cannot let go of something so strong and so deep inside me, so central to who I am. Without the Lord, I am nothing. In doing His will, I have found so far that although it is sometimes scary, I have always come through well and found my spirituality deepened and my prayer life so much more fulfilling.
I have been spending quite a bit of time in prayer too, in OLEM, and I must admit I do miss being here in Cambridge, although at the same time, I love where I am in London and believe God wanted me there for a number of reasons, some which I am beginning to find out, and others that I may not until I am on the other side of the grave! My Theology teacher did say to me that patience is a virtue, and that it does take time to acquire - that was because I told her I was getting impatient waiting to receive the sacraments! O, it's only just over 2 months...and I have waited like 15 years, so I guess it's really not much longer! O Lord, teach me patience, please! Amen and Amen.
I also spent time at the CJ (IBVM) convent with one of the sisters I know from school. It was lovely to have a catch up with her and she kept saying to me that I was blessed to have the network and support that meant I was really very well instructed in the faith. We had some very interesting conversations about formation and parishioners at Mass who neglect their prayer life, struggling with the Our Father and Hail Mary, and not really understanding the Creed - it was funny when she said that I show people up when I am around.. I try not to think of it like that, as I want to see myself as setting an example and bringing people back to being faithful rather than scaring them or "showing them up".
I'm still discerning God's will for me, but I do know this, that I need to ensure I have a certain intensity in my prayer life such that I do not neglect my thirst and hunger for the Lord, or else I will end up a very frustrated young lady! And trust me, you don't want to see me when I am! I do also know that I want to be very pro-active and involved in service to the Church and community - not that I would "spiritually exhaust" myself, I do know where my limits are (or at least I thought I did until I surprised myself by spending extended periods in prayer and realised how much I loved and needed it, and wasn't exhausted by it in the slightest!)... Anyway, I must get back to my friend's house - I've been out far too long that I ought to go and keep my friend and her family company now.
God Bless, and I will keep you in prayer as always.
Kim Lee :)
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