It all starts with falling in love with God
“The first step is falling in love with God.”
That line caught me last week in the priest’s homily at my parish.
Everything else starts from there in our life as followers of God, he said. We are in God and God is in us and when we are open enough to realize it, we fall in love with God. And everything follows from there.
The priest then asked, and what does it mean to fall in love? When we are really “in love” we start doing stupid things, he said. Things that people on the outside can’t understand.
It all resonated with me. I remember when I first fell in love with God. And I remembered that is explanation for lots of things I do. When my teenage daughter asks why I “waste my time” teaching religious education, and I myself sometimes wonder if it is time well spent as I lament the lack of women’s rights in the Catholic Church, it made me remember why I do it. Because I’m in love with God and I want to share that love with others. (In this case it’s also a bonus that the people I am sharing with are 3–6-year-old sweeties who make me laugh.)
Becoming a sister
And as I continue to reflect on what Father Bob said, I realize it’s the same reason that people, even still today, choose to become Sisters of Providence.
It all starts with falling in love with God.
Lots of people think it sounds crazy to become a Catholic Sister today. And in some ways, it is, from the outside. But when you fall in love with God, God does call you to seemingly crazy things.
And from the nearly 30 years I’ve been present among the Sisters of Providence and telling their stories, I’ve learned that it really isn’t crazy from the inside. In fact, it is beautiful.
When a person is called to be a Sister of Providence, and responds to that call, beautiful things happen. The sister has time to really focus on and grow in God. She is led to look deeply at herself and grow in ways she never thought possible. She is educated and formed in love and then sent out to serve in a life filled with love, mercy and justice. And it is beautiful.
Beautiful because of all the loving care that people in need get from it. Beautiful because of the deep, soul-filled happiness and peace that flows from most sisters. Beautiful in the community that is formed of women who love and care for each other and the world.
Despite the thorns, it is beautiful. And there are thorns. Thorns of the sisters being intricately a part of a church that does not deem them equals to men. Thorns that keep their voices muted, afraid to fully speak out. Thorns of having to give up a partner and a family of one’s own. And these thorns sometimes lead people from the outside to think sisters have made a crazy choice.
But when we fall in love with God, God continues to offer us choices. Choices that are beautiful and challenging and bring about beauty and good in the world. And I for one am so thankful to the kind and giving women who are so in love with God that they are willing to answer a special call from God, even when it seems crazy. Because of their loving response, the world is a better place.
Thank you, Amy, for such a beautifully written and honest consideration of falling in love with God and where it may lead. And that not everyone will understand, but that’s okay when you fall in love.
Wow! What a heartfelt reflection Amy. Thanks fir sharing your beautiful beliefs and experience with us. We are blessed to have you as a Providence Associate and SP staff member too.
Your good words leave me in awe at your deep insights into why we Sisters do what we do. For so many years, we have been blessed by your presence in our midst as day after day, week after week, months and years, you continue to join with us in mission not only through your work in Advancement Services and as an Associate, but especially through you being you. Those little ones in Religious Ed. are blessed to have you as their catechist! Thank you, Amy!
Thank you Amy you got the following in love with God It’s is a gift we share … and I hank you for all the ministry you do in our behave l am grateful! Sr Marilú
Amy, thanks for your commitment to those 3-6 year olds! And for sharing with them you’re falling in love with God! Thanks for this beautiful article and SO MANY things you do on our behalf and the good of the world.
Amy, you’re one of a kind! Your falling in love with God is so obvious and speaks in your deep commitments as a Providence Associate, a catechist, a writer, a mother and wife, a friend and in the many other hats you wear. We are so blessed to have! May you continue to inspire others with your profound reflections.
Amy, thank you for this wonderful reflection. You are a joy and an inspiration to us as you do this ministry of helping us to spread the word about our life and mission. Your family and the children you teach are blessed by your presence and your commitment as are we.
Thank you, Amy, for sharing this beautiful post. Your keen insight illuminates a bigger truth. You make the world a better place. Thank you.
What a beautiful and inspirational story!!
Thank you so much for sharing!!! I shared your story with some of my friends! Amazing things do happen when you fall in love with the Providence!!! It is sooooo hard to put into words and you did it!!!! Yes…..the ole thorns will always pop up…..bummer……but you give the reader an awesome reason to persevere!!! Blessed Day!!!
Amy, your words are absolutely wonderful!
Amy, you are a fully Providence woman and all with whom you come into contact are blessed by your providential, joyful love. Thank you.