Says Sr. Regis sra: “I do not have any thought to break away from the relationship with my Lord and master that I have built up very painstakingly as a religious. Even when he could have thrown me out from a human point of view, for valid reasons, He remains faithful, patient, loving, caring, and making me happy with ever new surprises every new dawn.
All the more, I ask for the graces to make up for the less and lesser contributions from my part as His co-worker in his enterprise of building the Kingdom of God” as I thought over why I still want to continue as a religious.

Well, 2nd February reminds us of the World Day of Consecrated Life instituted by then Pope John Paul II in 1997, urging the faithful to pray for the religious.

The Presentation/Offering of the Lord in the Temple which St. Luke presents dramatically has a deeper meaning and is thought provoking. The characters in the episode, their spontaneity and gestures manifest a lot.

St Luke intrinsically says: moved or led by the spirit, Simeon went into the Temple when Mary and Joseph brought the child Jesus to offer him in the temple. Yes, something stirs and arouses the heart which leads Simeon to the Temple. His sight falls on Jesus though dimmed and recognised as the One whom his eyes were waiting to see - the Salvation of God. Having moved and seen, he holds/ embraces the Child. Prophetess Anna, full of hope, though aged, sings praises of God ending the long wait filled with the Spirit.

They awaited with patience the fidelity of the Lord and did not allow themselves to be robbed of the joy of the encounter with him. The encounter of Simeon with Jesus, led to flowing rivers of joy and he dared to prophesy.

This is what happens when His Spirit stirs us, he gives us a mission to dare. But the questions arise – what is it that moves us? What do I wish to see? And finally what do I wish to embrace or take into my arms?

When questioned why you still want to continue as religious they affirmed: “Because the Lord has chosen me and desired me to be his own. I can feel his presence in my life. Though at times I fail” declared Sr. Betty SAB from Delhi.

A Pallottine Fr. Carlos, from Bangalore confessed: “I'm attracted to this way of life. Being a religious I can give more of my time to the Lord and dedicate myself to the task entrusted to me with more love and generosity. And also contribute to glorify the Lord with the talents he has bestowed on me”.

Sr. Sneha HCM from Kerala says, “We know the value of water, once we feel thirsty, we feel like drinking water only. So, I’ve tasted the Lord. This taste quenches all other things. I want to drink this living water more than anything else.”

“Commitment, Service and gratitude to what I received leads me to continue being a religious as my gift to God” says Fr. Jose Silveira SJ from Goa. While Sr. Deonisia HC declares: “I love my vocation, God has been gracious, it is by his grace what I am today. My Founder inspires me to a great extent to be a blessing to others and it gives me the satisfaction to see the smile on their faces”.

Fr. Joaquim Lakra OP a Dominican adds “I consider religious life as a special gift which perhaps I don’t deserve, but God was kind enough to grant me. Amidst various trials/temptations, continuing as a religious is a big challenge. However, I believe one who called me, strengthens even though I am weak. He surrounds me with his love and it is only because of his love, I’m able to continue. The love which I received from him is what I want to give him back”.

“I have encountered and embraced him in those whom I serve and want to continue to share the love I have experienced to many more” said Sr. S. Mary SFN.

God has placed his Son in our arms too, because embracing Jesus is the essential thing, the very heart of faith. Sometimes we risk losing our bearings, getting caught up in a thousand different things, obsessing about minor issues or plunging into new projects, yet the heart of everything is Christ, embracing him as the Lord of our lives. Lord, set me as a seal upon your heart!

The day 2nd February 2023, was marked at Holy Family Sisters, Headquarters, Sancoale Goa, with the Eucharist as sisters came in procession with lit candles. The priest Rev. Fr. Kenneth Teles, encouraged the religious to continue holding on to Christ, being in communion with each other as living in the community is not easy however, like the Holy Trinity to live in unity and spread Christ’s light which was foretold by Malachi, that he would suddenly come to his temple and that he came, and may find us worthy.

The joy was shared through the cutting of the cake and the long awaited dream of the Road of the Holy Family Boarding and School was blessed and inaugurated at the hands of Superior General Sr. Berna Rodrigues SFN and representatives of boarding, school and community sisters and ended with a joy ride.

- Article by Sr. Molly Fernandes sfn

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