“My desire is simple: I just want to be His”
Guest Writer: Cherise Klekar
I was asked at the beginning of my formation journey what my desire was. I responded, My desire is simple: I just want to be His. Little did I know that the Lord’s invitation to belong completely to Him would be so absolute. When one decides to set out on the path to holiness, it is inevitable to come up against one’s own limits, fragilities, and sins. But it is equally inevitable, when truly striving to grow, to see the grace of God alive and at work in concrete and tangible ways. Fast-forward nearly four years, through joys and difficulties, and I am now preparing to be wholly His as I take my vows and give the Lord all that I am, all that I have, and all that I will become as an Apostle of the Interior Life.
An important step on my journey to belonging entirely to the Lord happened on June 9, 2018, the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In a Mass celebrated by our founder, Fr. Salvatore, in our chapel in Rome, I made a promise to live out the spirit of the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience in my final formal step in the formative journey before professing vows. That moment proved to be very crucial for me because God really honored that promise and began to give me opportunities to live it out. The biggest opportunity mostly regarded obedience as the community asked me to change universities.
The idea of having to start all over, face the unknown, and leave behind people and a place that had become dear to me was frightening. After the summer ended and amidst my preparations for the big transition, I had the great privilege to go on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in the week before classes started. For me it was like being taken home by Jesus who wanted to show me where He grew up, take me to His favorite places, and introduce me to all of His family and friends. And as the sadness and fears for the new beginning at the university overwhelmed me, it was nice to go away for a while with the Lord.
One special moment happened on the very first day of the pilgrimage. We were in Nazareth and had a free morning for those who wanted to sleep in, so Sr. Clara and I decided to take a trip to Mount Precipice which was near our hotel. It is the mountain from which the people of Nazareth sought to throw down Jesus after He preached from the Book of Isaiah in the synagogue (Lk 4:14-30). Praying with this passage on the top of that peaceful mount, looking down at the valley below, I found the Lord speaking directly to me: Today, I announce to you a year of grace in the Lord (Lk 4:19). I was immediately filled with great peace and consolation. Right in the midst of a difficult transition, Jesus was promising His grace to me, His presence with me. He was proclaiming that from that place of sadness and fear was to come great intimacy with Him. And He has not disappointed! Upon my return to Rome, and in my first weeks and months at my new university I truly did experience His presence with me.
As time went on, I realized that I was still in a rut, caught up in my sadness, often thinking only of myself and many times lacking in love toward others. Praying with the First Reading on December 21 (Songs 2:8-14) I was struck by a couple of lines that became my prayer in the following days: Arise my friend, my beautiful one…the winter is past…the time for song has returned. With these brief words the Lord spoke softly to my heart: I see you in your sadness. I know this time has been hard for you. I see you as you seek to love Me and do My will even when it hurts. But I miss your voice. It’s time to get up. A new Spring is in arrival. Look at Me. Sing Me a new song.
It was in the following days that an old and familiar desire took up a new intensity deep within me, that simple desire that I wrote at the beginning of my formative journey: the desire to just be His. My desire to give God everything and to have Him be my everything, my only thing, was renewed in me. I found myself asking Him, needing to know: Do You feel loved by me? Am I enough for You? After all of this, are You sure You still desire to call me Yours? The answer came just a few weeks later as the community accepted my written request to profess my vows and to give myself completely to the Lord as an Apostle of the Interior Life.
These years of formation and self-discovery have led to many moments of vulnerability before the Lord and before the community, and what joy to know that I am fully known, loved, and wanted just as I am!
I know that the road to truly living in the simplicity of being His is long and will not end on December 7 when I take my vows. But I trust in the graces of consecration and in His promise to accompany me always in His love. Please pray for me in this time of preparation!