Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; for His steadfast love endures forever. (Ps: 106: 1)
Here we are today immersed in this great mystery of twenty five years. Mini Cyriac, Philomena Menezes, Manjula Devarapalli and Juliana Lasrado, together with Carmelite Missionaries who are both witnesses and participants in this great unfolding Mystery of call. 14th July 2019 is a memorable day for me in a very special way. Heart is full of thanksgiving to the Lord for His love and mercy towards us, to the formators who accompanied us to grow in our vocation journey. Their guidance and support strengthened me in my difficulties and struggles. I remember with gratitude my parents, brothers & sisters for their prayers & support which strengthened me in my vocational growth.
It was an experience of joy and happiness of completing 25 years in the service of the Lord, His love and faithfulness towards me. I can only say thank you Lord for Your love and mercy and I want to be faithful to you till the end of my life.
Timeless declaration of love and fidelity
The year was 1994… Pushpa Ashish, Pune. Much has happened since that year of YES to the Lord. 14th July 2019 is a Day of thanksgiving for the grace of perseverance. As far as time goes, it is Kairos time or God’s time. We the four sisters Mini, Philu, Julie and Manju held a lighted candle in our hands and renewed our vows to God. Our personal story is not about us at all. It is about God and His merciful and faithful love. It’s a story that would tell of the gentle hand that plucked us from the soil and held us close to His heart. Our lives have been an inspiration and we have done ordinary things with extraordinary love, patience, gentleness and competence in living the spirit of Jesus in so many different ways over these years, in our respective ministries with various people, particularly the poor and the marginalized.
Ah! Manju, I told myself, its true…this 25th Anniversary isn’t so much about us…our vocation, our call, our life of service. That is a part of it certainly, but not the main part. For this jubilee most of all celebrates Him, His call, His faithfulness, His mercy, which as I so very well know, has been the anchor of our religious life, our magnet ever drawing us closer to God, our compass setting our life and all that goes into it in perspective. Yes, this has been a very fruitful day. We can only pray in the silence of our soul, “To You, Lord, be the honor and glory forever and ever.”
What would happen if there were no sisters?” Pope Francis said, “Sisters in the hospitals, sisters in the missions, sisters in the schools. One can’t imagine it! They are the leaven that carries the people of God forward!” and he challenges us not to cling to our security, but to abandon our culture of comfort and go to the periphery. We must be less of an enclosure for the virtuous but more an oasis for the weary and downtrodden. We must be less of an experience of exclusion and more of an encounter of radical love, inclusiveness and solidarity. Yes we want to be a sacrament of God’s love for the world.
God’s unfolding Blessings in the Journey of Faith
Looking back at the last 25 years of consecrated life has been a journey of faith, discovery and wonder, discovering God’s immense merciful love and His Fidelity. I wonder how God loves me in spite of my infidelity and limitations. I realized now how little I knew and how much less I know about the wonder and unfolding life experiences.
Recalling of God’s wonder is not an easy task. One needs a disposition to open up for the graces of Our Beloved. Yes… as St. Paul says ” My Grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness (2nd Cor: 12:9) these years have been a like a flash, a stunning graced moment in time for which I am grateful. My journey with Christ has been constant and I pray that our relationship grows deeper and wider. Carmelite heritage and the Charism constantly remind me of the purpose for which I am called. Time and again community has challenged my spirit yet my appreciation for my Carmelite Family continues to be profound. It is there I learned to be like another Christ caring and rubbing the shoulders of each other. No matter whatever the circumstance and the situation may be. The strong determination and the perseverance to hold on to Christ made me to overlook the difficulties. I never felt alone because He was the one who navigating my journey. My life in the mission has made a tremendous impact in the lives of others as I mingled with children, adults and elderly. In return I have learnt to be compassionate, kind and patient. I have encountered numerous people along the way who have shared God’s merciful love and led me to this altar to complete 25 years of fruitful service in the vineyard of the Lord. I treasure all these people who have touched my life with their faith and love and allowed me to do the same. It’s a joy to remember fondly with gratitude my parents, brothers, sisters, formators, Generals, Provincials, sisters in various communities with whom I lived and shared life and mission. I am grateful for the faith amid the challenges and chaos which enables me to receive future with hope promised in Providence.
As I march forward, I join with Prophet Jeremiah 29:11 “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope”.
I wind up this short sharing convinced and get more and more consolidated with the words of St Paul to the Romans “nothing can separate me form the love of Christ…”
Thank you one and all for journeying with me.
Memories of innumerable Blessings
It truly takes courage to answer a call. It answers daring faith, generous love and unbounded hope. 25 years of memories were filled with Joys, difficult times, grace filled days, happiness and pride to be with the Lord.
Who could ever imagine the silver jubilee would be so jubilent? Melodious hymns of praise, prayer filled day, gathering of Carmelite Missionaries, parishioners, friends and all who prayed from afar.
It was a great honour to celebrate this milestone, the silver jubilee once again pledging to live a renewed life.
The most valuable moment that has begun is to live this day in a solemn manner. It’s on this special occasion where all the precious persons made me know I’m counted in the love of Christ truly filled me with grateful thoughts and feelings, the meaningful celebration for God who is the source and summit in the Holy Eucharist. To share this meal of love, proving that the life lived is worth in the merciful outpouring of Trinitarian God in the most beautiful celebration. Sharing, caring by contributing the very presence of every person being present Carmelite missionaries, friends, society where you become one with the whole of Universal Love.
The abundant generosity Love, care and concern experienced has no bounds. I feel humbled before the Lord for His wonderful ways in my journey of 25years. I’m grateful for His blessings so graciously poured upon me. I stand in owe before His Majesty for the privileges and opportunities received, and wonderful things he has done. I can never thank enough for the precious people he has placed in my life, like my parents, sister brother, family members, Carmelite sisters people and friends who have made a difference and helped me grow and remain in God’s Love. That exactly what the reading said on the Jubilee Day, Jesus said ‘ Remain in my Love’ ‘abide in me’.
Vocation being the huge leap of faith and love to very unfamiliar shores, overcoming hurdles the deepest experience speaks that nothing will give satisfaction except the still voice residing within me.