Saturday, February 13, 2010

What do nuns know about REAL life?

Way back in June of last year my son turned on the TV to watch a baseball game. He was quite disappointed to find there was nothing but fuzz on the screen. The television world had officially made the “switch to digital” and we, having made the decision not to participate in the switch, were now locked out, so to speak. Despite my son's initial disappointment about the ball game, we haven't missed the TV in the last 8 months. We really didn't watch it much anyway.
Last week, for the first time since the switch, I heard about a show I really wished I could watch though. The Oprah Winfrey show was going to visit the convent of the Dominican Sisters of Mary in Michigan to see what life was like for the sisters there and to interview them on her show. One of the young postulants had been a volunteer for Tim's youth group last year and I was curious to see where she was now and how her life might be going. Unfortunately without a digital TV, I was unable to tune in. Many of my friends were talking about the show and about how our young friend looked and I was sad to have missed it. Thankfully, a friend posted a link to youtube videos of the show on her facebook page and, this morning, I was able to view a good portion of the show.
What a blessing it was to see all those beautiful young women sharing their life and their experiences with the world. I was so impressed! I could truly see an amazing depth of peace and joy in each of their faces. Their love of Christ was so obvious in their honest, open answers to all the questions Oprah had. They could not have been a more beautiful representation of the religious life.
I was also struck by how misinformed the world is about serving God. The questions were primarily about everything the women had "given up". The interviewer seemed to have a hard time understanding how these young women could do without sex, shopping trips, and make-up. She asked how they felt about not having tweezers to pluck their eyebrows, and about there being no mirrors in their rooms. It really disheartened me to see the blatant misunderstanding of living a life dedicated to service, prayer, and a desire for holiness.
We are all called to serve God. It is only by answering God’s call in our own lives that any of us will know the peace and joy the sisters have. Oprah and her "people" clearly did not get this. Religious sisters are not the only people living out a vocation. I can see, in my own life, that God has called me to a vocation. My vocation is in no way less than that of the Dominican Sisters of Mary. I, too, am called to serve God. Not by living in a religious community but by living in the community of my family. I, too, am to be holy, chaste, and prayerful. "Giving up" selfish desires and worldly temptations is not just for nuns, but for all of us. Knowing God, loving God, and serving God is the call and purpose of every life. Seeing the sisters helped me to appreciate, not only the role they are playing in building up the kingdom of Christ, but also my own role and my own vocation. I hope and pray that all who watched Oprah's peek into religious life were just as moved by the holiness and dedication of the Dominican Sisters and that they too, are inspired to answer God's call in their own lives.

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