#Transitions: Where the grace is

We don’t use hashtags in our daily experience of religious life (unlike many of you, dear readers), but if we did, a lot of our posts these days would probably say #TRANSITION.

It’s just that time of year. In early August, our sisters move to their respective mission houses, our novices make first vows, our postulants become novices, and new postulants come our way. Some sisters have the same assignments they had last year, and others have new, sometimes dramatically new, assignments. We call it #transition.

Another hashtag would be #thegraceforthat. I joked with a sister a few days ago – there’s a grace for that! Wherever the Lord puts us, He gives us the grace to be there – to do that specific thing, to be his light in that specific way. But sometimes it’s hard to see for all the newness. Where is it to be found? Where is the grace?

I am in the midst of #transition too. Sure, I’m still here at the motherhouse, and still working in the heart of the home (a.k.a. the kitchen), but now I have the responsibility of coordinating all of it.

It can be easy to compare. “Last year, I didn’t have to …” “Her assignment is so much more exciting …” It can be easy to be discontent.

But I realized something recently – I don’t have the grace to do anything else right now. I don’t have the grace to serve the poor or to minister to college students, as our mission house sisters do. I don’t have the grace to teach the novices. I definitely don’t have the grace to be the Reverend Mother! =) I am exactly where He wants me – where the grace is. And if I look more closely, I can see it. I can see how He has gifted me and put me right where I can use my gifts for the greater good.

St. Peter writes, "As generous distributors of God's manifold grace, put your gifts at the service of one another, each in the measure he has received" (1 Peter 4:10). The stay-at-home mom who offered to bake and decorate the cakes for our celebrations this summer – she has the grace, the gift, for that. The retired painter who volunteered his time for a couple of weeks to help repaint our dining room and hallways – he has #thegraceforthat. The married couple with children who farm and garden here at our motherhouse property and share the bounty with us – they have #thegraceforthat. And they all put their graces, ultimately God’s gifts, at the service of others. And I can do the same! Why would I want to do anything without His help?

Just because God supplies it doesn’t mean it is easy to share the grace. But it is comforting to know He is ultimately the source. I’m just distributing what He gives.

Where is the grace? It’s right here. I’m already knee-deep in it. I just have to move my feet forward to feel the rush, the wetness, around me. I have to move. When I’m standing still, looking back at where I was, I can’t see the grace I have for today, for tomorrow.

So, in the midst of all the #transition, I know God is the same, and his hands are always open, full of gifts. I want to stay right here – where the grace is.

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  1. Beautiful reflection of the graces God gives each of us. We all go into some transition in our lives, perhaps untimely, that we should leave in God's hands..Thanks for this Sister Mary Gemma! Godspeed.

  2. Oh, Sr. Mary Gemma, thank you so much for this awesome reflection. Wow, if we would only tap into that Grace, instead of feeling like we are trudging through on our own! This post touched my heart being a Momma of three girls, and now Grandma of 2! Although I always sensed that being the "thermostat" of the home was a job that was necessary yet not always very glamorous! God gives us the Grace to transition through each and every day! Thanks again Sr. Mary Gemma! ~~Mrs. Ciarrone

  3. Thank you for this reflection. Reading it at this time reassures me that God has me where He wants me- learning the ropes of teaching kindergarten for the first time. Sometimes I get lost in the overwhelming anxiety that I have no idea what I am doing, but God does provide. Thank you, Sr. Mary Gemma :)


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