Searching for Him
“We will see each other in heaven.” A certain woman proclaims it to us when I was ten years old. I forgot her name and her nationality. Most probably she’s a Christian pastor. But I was struck by what she have said! There was a strong conviction in her words. What I understood is that this temporal life isn’t the end of everything. What a relief! Thank You, Lord.
At twelve years old, at least with full consciousness, I got to know that God truly cares. I cannot explain what was in my heart at that moment. I remember I was crying hard. I just had a strong desire to learn who God is, to experience Him, to befriend Him, and to have Him close to me. I think these moments are familiar to you too. I’m sure at some point, you were touched by Him. As for me, it went ordinarily. I know within the depths of my soul that I am longing for Him. And my God thirsts for me too.
At thirteen years old, this searching for God grew. I started to question about vocation. One early afternoon at school, there was this nun who had a big red cross on her habit. She gave a talk about religious life. As usual, I didn’t fully grasp it. But a sweet knock of Christ in the recesses of my heart went loud enough. The nun gave a blank paper to fill out for those who would like to join a search-in program in their congregation. Then I found myself signing it. That’s all. I wasn’t called for follow-up. Three years later, this nun became my classmate in college. I told her that she was very familiar to me. And I went on telling her about my interest in religious life. We were friends because we helped each other during exams. She shared to me her life story and her food at noon break. That’s the best part, I think.
All life stories go through some kind of a bumpy ride. It can be in the aspect of self-knowledge, relationships, degree, work, mission, vocation or on personal desires, hopes, fears, etc. I am not an exemption particularly in my yearning for God. This searching pines in the depths of me. Ironically, those who are close to me could say that I am a prodigal, not worthy to claim piety for God. My mother can definitely explain to you how rebellious I am. Definitely, I am not born a saint. But I know I can be a saint, all in God’s grace. And if I’ll become one, I am truly close to Christ and extremely united with Him.
For the last ten years since God has invited me to love Him back, my life has been a whirlwind journey. But in those times, I was captivated by St. Therese in her book, The Story of a Soul, and Sr. Faustina’s Diary. Their writings were used by God to draw me into a deeper conversion. My renewal of heart was as sweet as a honey.
At twenty-three years old, I can say I grasp more clearly what sets my soul at peace. Through the inspirations of the Holy Spirit, He is teaching me what vocation is, at least the knowledge in which my feeble mind can comprehend. Within me, I’d like to follow Him, to dedicate my life to Him. But He has said, “Foxes and birds have homes to rest but a Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” He is not reproaching me. In fact, he tells me the truth, the bare truth of a soul’s journey who wish to follow Him. He neither says that I cannot walk in His footsteps nor convinces me to be in a religious life. He only wants me to be happy, to love what is pure and holy, to remain in Him no matter what kind of marriage would that be for me. Jesus directs my soul in a most gentle way. Little by little each day, He gives me a glimpse of the secrets of His Sacred Heart. Through this, I get to know that to follow Him is to live in poverty.
A poor-spirited soul only has Jesus in her heart. She is content, for she doesn’t have to cling on to material things which are subject to futility and decay. She wouldn’t want to acquire the riches of the world or be enticed by its allurements because God is her only joy and wealth. Jesus is her peace and security. She can accept all things, can forgive, can generously share what God has provided her. With utmost humility, she trusts that the cup Jesus has bestowed on her won’t run dry.
To be married or to become a consecrated person, nun, priest, or deacon is not an end in itself. One may choose any of these state of life. The most important is our daily vocation, living our life as we ought to. The specific vocations provide us with a certain path, a way in which all signs of dos and don’ts are clearer. All these journeys are blessed by God. He is one in every marriage vows of husband and wife, consecrated virgins, ordained priests, deacons, and perpetually professed men and women in religious congregations.
With joy, I say to Christ, “Aha! That’s why, Lord, You like Your disciple to be poor so that You could occupy her heart alone. You can freely do what You want. The soul cannot resist. In fact, her true happiness lies in You alone.”
In this present moment, I am at peace in searching for Him—to find Jesus in every little things in simplicity, in ordinariness, in poverty. And you know what, in His mercy, He meets me every single day. As a single woman, this is my vocation: to love God and contemplate on His unique love for me. I say, His love makes me beautiful.
Written by Ivy Fernandez. Ivy is currently a member of St. Anne's House of Prayer. She is a Pure Heart volunteer since 2021.