by: Sr. Anselma Bawag, tc
When someone asks me about my vocation, something good is happening to me. You know what? I am becoming young. I feel young. It doesn’t mean that my age decreases nor the wrinkles in my face disappear. It is because when I talk about vocation, I cannot help but go back to my younger memories, on the time that I couldn’t understand yet that the changes that was happening to me, was because God was gradually leading me to hear His call.
I remember how I said no to every invitation to be involved in any church- related activities. And how God mysteriously worked to capture my heart. I tried to avoid Him, be away from Him but He won my heart! Of course, the first reaction I had that time was to recognize my unworthiness! How could it be possible that a person who did not practice her being Catholic for long time will be a “Sister”? With all the failures and mistakes, I have done. Indeed it was not I who choose Him, It is He who chose me to follow Him and bear fruits…“ (John 15:16) And what else? My heart overflowed with gratitude because in spite of who I am, He Loves me, still called me, He trusted me, He strengthened me and gave me the grace I needed because He knew how weak I was. He knew that my decision to say Yes to Him was not enough, He knew that after that decision I needed all the more His support, His daily inspiration, and His guidance.
One of the best experiences I have in Religious Life was the chance He had given me to experience this life in India for 11 years. A place where there are only a population of less than three percent Catholics, a place where I almost couldn’t express myself in terms of language, a culture very different with mine, coupled with the difficulties regarding Visa and travels, but with the overflowing love and grace of God, experienced through the support and love of the people around that taught me a lot more regarding faith, trust in God, love to my neighbor and gratitude, and more.
More than 25 years since I made the decision to live this life but until now, I can always feel that it is just like yesterday. It is because I can remember clearly how His grace worked in my life especially in that moment. It is just like yesterday because I feel I am still beginning, I have done still very little to what I have promised to do when I said “Here am I Lord, I come to do your will” (Ps.40:2).
I don’t know how long will the journey be but it was and it is a wonderful one not because everything happened and passed easily. The experiences were and are so rich and the blessings of God is always abundant yet not with struggles and trials, but joy is always there because He did not let me journey alone. He gave me sisters to journey with and people who supposed to be the recipients of my service that turned to be the ones who are teaching me more and more to recognize the beauty of this vocation. And most of all, I am certain that the one whom I am following is leading me to reach the place that is prepared for me. I know until now I am not worthy so I always pray to God that He may not look on my failures but on my desire to do His will.