(Okay, it’s not quite Twelve Years A Slave, but a title is a title.)
Last Sunday in front of family, friends, and the parish community I made my Temporary Promise as a Lay Dominican. After several years of discernment, and more years of formation, the time had finally come. No more a novice, I now take my place in the hallowed company of such fellow Lay Dominicans as St. Catherine of Siena and Fulton Sheen – no pressure there.
And pressure there was, in many and quite varied ways, throughout. The night before I mentioned to some friends the odd lack of stress I was feeling. For something that involved speaking in front of a crowd I was oddly serene. Of course if you know me you’d know that serenity was a bit unsettling, and yet even that wasn’t nearly as bad as it should have been.
That morning we left for Mass much earlier than normal so I could be sure to reserve pews for my Chapter members. Wouldn’t you know it but there was a road race that had two of the roads on my normal route to Mass closed. After driving several miles out of the ordinary path we finally arrived only a few minutes before Mass – clearly my serenity was being put to the test.
My Chapter President arrived only a few minutes later and we had just enough time to clear up a few last remaining questions before Mass began. I donned the small Scapular she had given me and before I knew it Father had invited me to the foot of the altar and the Rite had begun. I answered the three questions with identical “I am, with God’s help and yours” responses and Father’s final response really caught my attention:
May the Lord who has begun this good work, bring it to completion.
Yes, ultimately this was indeed something begun by God long before I hurriedly walked into that church, long before I had ever even made that phone call so many years ago that started my entry into the Church. Suddenly it felt as if a weight I hadn’t even recognized had been lifted from my shoulders – the weight of doing this all on my own was gone. Just as suddenly a new weight settled on me like a comfortable jacket, heavy but yet comfortable – the weight of having to get myself out of God’s way so He could act.
I know I am not nearly the best tool God could have to work with, but now that no longer matters, only being faithful matters. What this will take, what this will cost, I do not know. I only pray I may be compliant enough to allow God to bring this all to the conclusion He has intended all along.