Called to Joy!

The Poor Clare Sisters
in Spokane, Washington

All Will be Well

I love reading stories of people who have experienced miracles or special touches of God in their lives. Its like, “Oh wow, that happened to them, it could happen to me!” And of course that is true, but this morning I read one of those stories and I had an entirely different thought. It was more like, “Oh my gosh! God works so uniquely with everyone!”

You see in this story the person did not believe in God at all. Never, not from their childhood, their adulthood, nothing. No relationship with God that they fell away from, or got mad at or simply ignored bit by bit till there was nothing there. This person just plain did not believe in God.

So what happens? The person has a heart attack, the secret kind in which they don’t have any symptoms and the doctor just finds it out later and things start going from bad to worse. So this lady, who was thirty-five years old, all of a sudden the day before major heart surgery decides to pray, “God if you do exist, I want you to heal me right now and I will believe.”

Well, truthfully, I have done that any number of times in my life and the answer has always been, “Zero! I’m sorry, that number is no longer in service, please check your connection and try again” sort of thing. But this lady prays that one simple prayer and five seconds later is healed. I mean totally. The next day when she goes to the hospital, the doctors don’t believe her, but at her insistence they retest her, and she is one hundred percent, no scars, no traces, not even any cholesterol! She is healed.

Amazing. But what I found even more amazing was how I felt reading that. It was with a sense of wonder. Not my usual, “Rats, how come you don’t work that way with me,” sort of thing? I just felt total peace.

Its okay, God can work that way with her and a totally different way with me. Okay, I can handle this.

That’s grace. God is working through me by not answering my prayers. At least not for healing, I’ve had tons of prayers answered for other things. So, it’s only taken about fifty years but I’m starting to get the picture and go with the program that God has for me. It’s unique! Totally. Not only that it is also starting to sink in, that the way God worked with me yesterday is not to say that he will work that way tomorrow. God is not a push button God. It’s all about relationship. What I need today. What is best for me right now.

God truly and uniquely has a plan for my life and the more I lighten my grip on the steering wheel of life, the more enjoyable the ride is. By George, I can even stop arguing and complaining and moping and start enjoying the scenery!

The one thing I have solidly experienced upon entering religious life is that things will not always go along the paths I think they should go. People won’t act the way I think they should act. Schedules and work plans and prayer times and life in general plans will not follow my personal guidelines of “How things should be done!”

So somehow, tiny bit by tiny bit, it’s all starting to sink in that God has it all in control. He knows the people I live with, the work there is to do, the hours in the day and I really don’t have to be on the “direction committee” to be at peace that as God once told Julian of Norwich, “all will be well, and all will be well, and every kind of thing will be well."

Franciscan Monastic Word for the Week
Abbess: The superior of a Poor Clare Monastery. The abbess is selected by secret ballot of the professed nuns every three years.

in the Spirit of Clare of Assisi
by Herbert Schneider, OFM

Chapter One: Contemplation with a Light Step

One of the greatest spiritual women of the Middle Ages is Saint Clare of Assisi. She represents a person well educated by the standards of those days. She could even write in Latin better than could Francis of Assisi.

The more profound aspects of her vocation, however, were molded by spiritual independence with which she was endowed. This independence is not only a reflection of the household her parents provided for her as she grew up; it more accurately reflects Clare herself. She possessed the refined ability to look at reality and avail herself of all of its deeper implications. Of course, this ability was increased by virtue of her deeply religious nature.

If she saw another person, for example, she viewed him or her not just as an acquaintance or colleague. For her, that person bore the traits which were intrinsic to one's being: the capacity to love and suffer; possessing a uniqueness of being; a reflection of that which in God shone so brightly; the splendor and glory of God. It was all just a matter of perception, of being able to see it.

About the Author: Dr. Herbert Schneider, born on June 8, 1938, is a Franciscan. In the 1980's he was provincial of the Franciscan Province of Colongne and Chairman of the Union of Leaders of Orders in Germany. He was the Spiritual Assistant of the Federation of German Speaking Poor Clares. At the time this book was published he was in Rome as the Delegate General to the communities united with the Franciscan Order, among them, the Poor Clares.

Called to Joy! is the Vocation Web site for the Poor Clare Sisters in Spokane, Washington. If you would like more information about our community or life as a Poor Clare Nun please contact: Sister Colleen

You may call us at (509) 327-4479 - the only time we do not answer the phone is from 8:30 - 9:30 a.m. PST when we are at Mass.