Tomorrow I am going to NYC to spend a week with the CFR sisters on my second come and see visit. I have been extra vigilant in wanting to prepare for this visit.
Because this is currently what I call a discernment blog I am going to share a few of my experiences dealing with preparation- and lack there of- leading up to this visit.
Lack there of preparation:
1) I have been acting crazy. In “striving” to prepare for visiting the CFR sisters, I decided to make an effort to be more silent and a little more contemplative during the week leading up to the visit. The opposite happened. After day one not only did I give up and forget about this effort, I was also a mess. It was a rough week (for those around me). I admit (in humility) that the selfishness (and loudness) level on my part was through the roof for those who (graciously) had to experience this particular week of my life.
2) I have been acting crazy. In addition to being the worst person to live with, I was also a super grumbler. During the week that I originally set aside for silence, I was a ball of anxiety while wrapping up at work, packing, etc., and I spewed my frustrations and complaints to anyone who would (and would not) listen.
1) Novena to home parish Patron Saint. My home parish is St. Joseph and to prepare for his feast day on March 19, we prayed a parish-wide novena to him. This novena “happened” to parallel my desired silent week of preparation. It seems that since I could not be silent, Saint Joseph became a pillar of silence and contemplation for me. SO GOOD!!!!
2) Padre Pio and sanctity: We housed a relic of Padre Pio for nine days. During this novena, one of the lines stuck out to me every day: “(we remember) the invisible halo of sweet smelling flowers that surrounded your presence: the perfume of sanctity.” I love thinking of this sweet smelling fragrance of sanctity. The last day we had the relic (yesterday), I was volunteering at a youth retreat for high school students and one of the young ladies was surrounded in a beautiful smell of holy oil. The smell was Heavenly and I told her about Padre Pio’s scent and that she had a fragrance of sanctity about her. This was very encouraging as the reason I am discerning is to seek the will of God in my life because I desire to be holy, to be a Saint. I associated smelling the “sweet smelling fragrance” with holiness, sanctity and prayers from Padre Pio. In smelling holy oil on this kind and gentle teenager, I was inspired to seek holiness, something I should be anyway, in the midst of all this preparation.
3) God’s Mercy. After the week of craziness and waterfall of prayers from these Saints, I went to Reconciliation. It seems I can only write about this now because of the sanctifying graces that came from absolution. These graces from God are really what has prepared me for this convent visit.
St. Joseph- pray for us! St. Pio- pray for us! Heart of Jesus, fountain of life and of holiness- have mercy on us!