By Rebecca Chedid
"Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid." (Matthew 14: 27)
This was meant to be my big year. As a PhD candidate, I was going to present my research study at the largest occupational therapy conference in the world in Baltimore Maryland! Little did I know that God had other plans for me too. While planning my trip to the US from Sydney, Australia, where I live, I felt the Holy Spirit giving me continuous signs to visit the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light.
I had been in touch with Mother Marla Marie for a few months prior and I thought this would be a great opportunity. Many questions came to mind. What should I expect? What do I bring with me? Is God calling me to religious life? I arrived a few days before Hosanna Sunday and spent Passion Week and Easter with the Sisters.
Before I arrived to the convent, I prayed, "I am ready Lord for whatever you want from me. I am ready." Since the first dinner with the Sisters, I felt Jesus in the midst. It felt like home. In the twelve days I spent with the Sisters, I was moved by their great love for Our Lord and the Maronite parishes that they serve. I saw how authentic they were in preserving the Maronite traditions and liturgies and in living their vows of obedience, chastity, and poverty. I also joined them in at recreations playing yahtzee, pictionary, going on walks, singing, and watching The Sound of Music.
The Sisters lead a balanced life of prayer, service, study and recreation. So I joined the Sisters in their prayers and fast, especially during Passion Week. This allowed me to delve deeper into my spiritual journey and to share in the Lord's passion and resurrection. God showered me with an abundance of blessings during the time I spent there. I felt his immense love for me in every moment.
I encourage young women to "come and see," to be open to God's will in their lives.
As Mother Marla Marie explained to me, God speaks through the silence of our hearts and through prayer. Even if you do not think that religious life is your calling , still come and visit the Sisters for some time. You will discover how much God loves you all over again. You will be able to go deeper in your spiritual journey.
I continue to pray for more vocations to religious life and especially to the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light.