The end of June is full of special events for me: the anniversary of the foundation of the Daughters of St. Paul in the U.S., my anniversary of the profession of vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience (June 28); the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul celebrated by the entire Church (June 29); and the Pauline feast of St. Paul, celebrated by the Pauline Family all over the world (June 30). These “strong moments” conspire to remind me of God’s faithful love and the amazing grace of receiving and living my Pauline vocation.
This year, Pope Benedict XVI has made these days extra special with his recent general audiences focused on prayer in St. Paul’s letters, starting on May 16th. This is my favorite quote so far (well, at least my favorite quotation that is short enough to quote here!), taken from June 13th’s General Audience:Only if we are grasped by Christ’s love will we be equal to facing every adversity, convinced, like Paul, that we can do all things in the One who gives us strength (cf. Phil 4:13). Therefore, the more room we make for prayer the more we will see our life transformed and enlivened by the tangible power of God’s love.
In another audience, Pope Benedict highlights two of the key moments of Paul’s spiritual experience: moments that I greatly relate to my own spiritual journey. And this is a special year–my 25th Jubilee–where I want to take the time to look both backwards and forward in my life. As a way to celebrate the grace of God’s call, and to further understand His continuing call in my life, I’ve decided to make a Scriptural timeline of my vocational journey, tracing out the significant moments through the Scripture passages that have most greatly influenced me and transformed my life. (One benefit of being an industrious journaler is that I have my journals to look back through, in case I’ve forgotten anything.)
Communicating the Word of God doesn’t start with proclamation. It starts with the Word of God transforming our lives. The first time I remember reading the Word of God on my own was when my mother encouraged me to read St. Matthew’s Passion narrative during Good Friday. On my eight-day annual retreat last summer, I spent the entire eight days on seven verses from the Gospel of Luke. The Word of God can transform us and transform the world. It is a treasure accessible to all of us. In these days, St. Paul reminds us to take full advantage of God’s desire to communicate with us through His Word.