St Clare of Assisi

The Call

Hereunder are three spiritual experiences of God's call to His service:

Spiritual Experience of Sr Maria Dolores OSC

When the Lord calls he never grows weary and continues to call us until we give our ‘YES’. He is never disheartened, He perseveres, He insists, has patience with us, until we respond to Him. His call becomes stronger until we start to understand. When we go through rough moments, He shows us His love and fidelity. He shows us that He has great confidence in us.

The Lord called me during my childhood years. He brought me closer to Him in little steps in many small ways and signs which at the time I didn’t understand fully. I remember my mother recounting that one particular day when she took me and my twin sister out in the pram a Cardinal’s car was passing by. The Cardinal asked the driver to stop the car. (An International Congress of the Clergy was being held in Malta at the time), the Cardinal came out and blessed us. Today I see this as a sign of being chosen from so many children that the Cardinal could have seen on his way, he chose to bless us! Whenever I experience something like this that a person shows interest or attention, I ask myself ‘Why, what might this mean?’.

I remember that once after adoration, I went in front of the statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, I felt Him telling me ‘Come and follow Me’. It was clear and strong. I was overwhelmed by such words, I pondered over them a long time and yet I couldn’t understand. After a few days I forgot all about it . I lived as normally as possible, however I felt drawn towards the Holy Eucharist. Adoration of the most Blessed Sacrament became a source of peace, happiness, tranquility, and rest for my soul. The adorations moulded me and filled me with His love and I quickly became enamoured with His company.

When one co-operates with the grace of the Lord, with an open heart, He strengthens all our weaknesses. He removes all our weaknesses and fills us with courage and moulds us slowly slowly without our noticing. In His infinite gentleness He acts according to our own pace.

On another day whilst I walking in the streets of my town, I happened to pass in front of a church, and I felt the Lord inviting me to enter and stay awhile with Him. But I was afraid and kept walking. When I pondered about it I felt the Lord reprimanding me. The week after I obeyed Him and and paid Him a visit. That day I left the Church with so much peace and happiness like I’ve never felt before. From that day onwards I kept going more frequently near the Lord and intensified my time too. I seeked different churches to be near Him, I looked for occasions and different times of the day to be near Him. Daily chores were done in haste so as not to miss my rendez-vous with the Lord. Once I attended a 3 hour adoration during the afternoon. I was very close to where the Blessed Sacrament was exposed, and it was there that I felt Him calling me again.

I felt I needed to open my heart with someone to help me understand what the Lord was asking from me. I sought the help of a Franciscan friar, who later became my Spiritual Director. He helped me through prayer and discernment to understand the Lord’s Call. After a long discernment we realised that the Lord was calling me for a consecrated life as a religious sister. So I started going for weekend experiences in some convents. However, when I decided to enter the religious life, my mother was struck with a serious illness and I had to attend to her. After her death I didn’t want to leave my father all alone, so I remained home. After a few years he passed away. After six months the Lord called me once again.

I felt an inspiration of the Lord asking me “when are you giving me your definite ‘yes’?” He added “I won’t be asking you for great things”. And finally I told Him ‘Yes’. It was the 25th of March the feast of the Announciation, my ‘yes’ was one with Our Lady’s ‘fiat’. I intensified my prayers. I started seeking what kind of vocation the Lord was asking from me. I asked for a sign from the Lord to better understand. I particularly asked Him for a clear sign either verbal or written. The Lord in His wonderful kindness sent both verbal signs and written ones. At first I couldn’t believe and I didn’t want to accept what He wanted although these were very clear. I spoke to my Spiritual Director and after discernment and a live-in experience within the monastery of the poor clares, the time came for me to take the decisive and most important step in my life.

Today four blissful years have already passed since my first step. Now I am a Professed Junior, waiting eagerly to take my Solemn Vows and become totally His.

_________________________

Spiritual Experience of Sr Maria Liliana OSC

“Verġni fqira, tgħannaq ma’ Kristu fqir.”


B’ferħ kbir minn qalbi nirringrazzja lil Alla l-Missier tal-grazzja tas-Sejħa u li nilbes l-abitu Franġiskan biex nibda n-Novizzjat tiegħi fi ħdan l-Ordni ta’ Santa Klara.

Il-Vestizzjoni saret fil-viġili tat-Tħabbira tal-Mulej, fl-24 ta’ Marzu – festa fejn l-‘Iva’ tal-Verġni Marija għas-sejħa li kien qed jagħmlilha Alla, Gesu’ seta’ jiġi nkarnat fil-ġuf safi tagħha; festa ta’ meta Marija ingħaqdet għal dejjem ma’ Gesu – il-Bniedem Alla - bil-qawwa tal-Ispirtu s-Santu. Minn dak il-ħin tat-Tħabbira il-ħajja tal-Verġni Marija saret Ġesu’. Għalih kienet tgħix, lilu kienet tħobb u miegħu riedet tibqa’ marbuta.

Dan hu li għexet Marija fuq l-art, u hekk stednitni nagħmel fil-jum tal-Vestizzjoni tiegħi. Bħalha ngħid l-‘iva’tiegħi biex inħalli dak kollu li hu tad-dinja (issimbolizzat
bil-libsa tat-tieġ), u nilbes lil Kristu ‘fqir u umli’ (l-abitu) fuq il-passi ta’ San Franġisk u Santa Klara – mixja li twassalni għall-professjoni solenni tal-voti tal-Ubbidjenza, Faqar u Kastita mgħixa fil-Klawsura li jgħaqqduni għal-dejjem ma’ dan l-Għarus Divin.

Id-dħul tiegħi fil-monasteru bħala aspiranta kien fit-8 ta’Mejju 2008, Tifkira tal-Madonna ta’ Pompei. Imbagħad fil-25 ta’ Marzu 2009 bdejt is-sena tal-postulantat. Tul din is-sena jiena bdejt nipprepara għal-vestizzjoni. Billi din kienet ser issir fis-Solennita tat-Tħabbira tal-Mulej, ridt li dan l-episodju hekk importanti fl-istorja tal-bniedem jimmarkali bil-qawwi l-bidu tan-Novizzjat. B’hekk fittxejt li nikkontempla fil-fond dan il-Misteru tal-Inkarnazzjoni tal- Mulej kif għexitu Marija. Minn għandha ridt nitgħallem kif għandi nilqa’ lil Gesu’ u nsir omm, oħt u għarusa tiegħu.

Xi dawl li tani l-Ispirtu s-Santu tul din is-sena kien fuq l-imħabba li kellha Marija għal Alla permezz tal-fidi li għaddewlha missierijietha, kemm kienet lesta li taqdih; fuq il-faqar, l-umilta’ u s-sempliċita tagħha. Kemm Alla jaħdem fis-skiet u fil-moħbi. U fuq id-disponibilta’ u l-abbandun tagħha f’Alla.

Fis-seba’ t’ijiem tal-irtir li kelli bħala preparazzjoni personali għal-bidu tan-Novizzjat, il-Mulej kompla jġedded dan kollu imma wkoll kif għandi ngħixu fil-fraternita’ ma’ ħuti s-sorijiet. L-ispiritwalita Franġiskana Klarjana hija li ngħixu l-Evanġelu fl-imħabba tal-fratenita’, nagħtu glorja u tifħir lil Alla speċjalment fl-adorazzjoni tas-Sagrament Imqaddes u fil-ħajja ta’ talb u tax-xogħol. Ngħixu l-fidi tagħna bil-ferħ bħala wlied ħielsa t’Alla, fis-sempliċita’, umilta’ u fil-faqar imqaddes kif kien iħobb isejjaħlu San Franġisk.

L-Ispirtu s-Santu hu li jsejjaħ u jiġbor erwieħ minn kull oqsma tal-ħajja. Għalhekk kull persuna fil-fraternita’ hija don tal-Ispirtu s-Santu. Il-fraternita’ issir frott tal-ħidma tal-Missier li jmexxi kollox; huwa Hu l-propretarju u s-sid ta’ kull don. Kif Gesu’ kien ħaj fil-ġuf ta’ Marija, hekk aħna rridu nżommu lil Ġesu’ ħaj fostna biex bħalha ukoll nkunu nistgħu nagħtuh lid-dinja. San Franġisk jgħidilna biex “ngħarfu nagħmlulu dejjem fina post fejn jgħix u jgħammar.” Il-milja tal-bniedem hi li jinbidel fi Kristu Ġesu’. B’hekk il-ħajja tat-talb tagħna ma tibqax talba li nagħmlu aħna, imma ssir preżenza li aħna nirċievu.

B’dan l-għarfien f’qalbi ta’ dak li hi Marija, ‘mera’ u ‘xebħ’ sħiħ ta’ Ġesu’ u xi jfisser għalija li ngħix fi fraternita’, jien ersaqt lejn l-artal bl-offerta ta’ ħajti, hekk kif jien. B’ferħ li ma nistax nispjegah jiena lqajt li nilbes dan kollu hekk kif inżajt il-libsa tat-tieġ u niżel fuqi l-abitu Franġiskan li hu forma ta’ salib (Tau), fil-qtugħ tax-xagħar u fil-velu tal-konsagrazzjoni. Ħassejtni verament qiegħda nilbes dak li nemmen fih – lil Kristu u li issa ħajjti se tkun ‘moħbija’ fih.

Kif Marija fil-bidu kienet li resqitni qrib Ġesu’ biex ngħaraf is-sejħa li kien qiegħed jagħmilli, hekk nitlobha li tkompli tgħinni nippersevera bil-fedelta’ f’din il-vokazzjoni li ngħix l-għamla ta’ ħajja kif għixuha San Franġisk u Santa Klara. Biex ngħix din l-avventura ta’mħabba ma’ Ġesu’ bħala ‘verġni fqira mgħannqa ma’ Kristu fqir’.

__________________________


Spiritual Experience of Sr Ann Marie Magrin OSC

Since my early years I can remember my parents teaching me to pray and taking me to Mass and to Cathechism lessons. At the age of around 16, I started going through a difficult period in my life and it was this period which opened an outlet for me to discover Jesus in a different way.  I first went through a period of solitude. I had many questions which required an answer. I had learnt many things about God but until now He remained God up there and little me down here. Between the age of sixteen and around twenty three, I made various experiences with friends, travelling, work and I was even involved in a long term relationship.  However something was still missing and I could not understand what. It was only when I found myself alone, with a multitude of unanswered questions that I allowed God to enter in my life and started to be actively involved in the relationship which He had been seeking to have with me for a long number of years. A friend of mine invited me to join her on a pilgrimage to Medjugore and I accepted. There I experienced the beauty of one of the greatest miracles which God accomplishes in our lives whenever we open our hearts to it -- the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I received the grace to experience the freedom of feeling forgiven and embraced by the Father. I was even blessed to accept the Virgin Mary as Mother and guide, it's not easy to explain in words the greatness of Her gift in our lives, but to put it very simply, She's the one who can help us allow Jesus to come closer to us. She helps us open our hearts to receive Him. On my return to Malta I decided that I wanted to get to know Jesus more.  I started making more time for prayer, to attend adorations both within communities and on my own. I bought a Bible and referred to it often so much so, that it became my companion. Most particularly within the Book of Psalms where I found the expression of all my emotions. I still remember the first verse which had caught my attention in a particular manner and the joy that filled my heart that day: Psalm 113, 5-6 "Who is like the Lord our God, Who is enthroned on high, Who humbles Himself to behold The things that are in heaven and in the earth?"

Later I received the grace to start attending daily Mass. The empty space within me was being filled and I didn't want it to become empty again. I didn't stop enjoying myself. God gave me the grace to become part of the Living Waters Mission Team, with whom I even had the unforgettable experience of going to Ethiopia. I still went out with friends, attended concerts and went camping but I lived all my enjoyment in His company and His joy now replaced that which I thought was happiness before. God blessed me with many friends who helped me along the way and with whom I could also share His love and still have the opportunity to share His experience once in a while. After some years, His calling brought me to this Monastery where I try to live a life completely dedicated to Him. To live my life as a continuous song of praise, to the One Father of all, for His infinite love for us. My experience of God is that of a Father who is infinte love. He just waits for us to open our hearts and allow Him to love us. Along the way, until now, I have learnt that He has placed His love within us and where everybody and everything else fails, His love reigns. He's the One who is always taking new initiatives to seek us, to free us, to love us. Even now, along the way, I keep straying and He keeps seeking! I keep closing my heart and He keeps tenderly opening it up more to allow me to receive His light! God is God! His thoughts are not our thoughts! His ways are not our ways!

The Gospel according to John tells us that "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved". This is the God I had the grace to meet and the one I keep receiving the grace to meet, through the intercession of our Mother Mary. God said One Word, Jesus! Jesus Crucified and Resurrected and in Him I continue to find truth, love, joy and life itself. Amen. Hallelujah!

________________________________


No comments:

Post a Comment