A Brief Reflection on Religious Life and A Poem of Thanks and Praise

Dear Jesus,

I am so moved with gratitude, even to tears. For You have done it. You have answered my prayer, and fulfilled the desire of my heart, which has been within me for the last year of my life…it is the desire to enter the religious life, indeed, the life of Paradise. And wow…what a life of true peace it is! Yes, all of the free time for silent reflection, spiritual reading, and heartfelt prayer makes it entirely possible, even easy, to consecrate every present moment to You! And Your physical Presence in the Eucharist of the chapel in our house means that I get to quite literally, live with You under Your roof! Though I am miles far from my family, I feel as though the life of Nazareth has truly only begun…and I will take up my place, my song of love, in the company of and constant contact with Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! For now that I have closed out all the noise and nonsense of this world, I am safely enclosed in the confines of Your Sacred Heart, and together with You, I can finally and freely focus more fully on my mission for the Church, that is, to pump blood to all its members and indeed to all souls of earth through the graces granted by a life of prayer and sacrifice! Yes, there are still possible distractions, diversions, and dissipations, within and around me, but even the struggle comes with so many graces of confidence in, consolation with, and courage from You, Who are uniting Yourself ever closer and closer to my endlessly enraptured heart! And thus, no matter the temptation or trial, it seems as though that the victory seems always assured! Yes, there are still crosses, but it is as though You are carrying them all with cans even for me, in this blessed intimacy, this oneness we share! And so they are all consumed in the enlivening fires of divine love and so light and sweet they all seem! Yes, even despite the current chaotic state of this world, which will soon pass away, and the wounded state of religious life, which will soon be rectified, my life here has become a perpetual Paradise, an inner love affair, indeed an Unceasing Act of Love! Thank You, Good Lord, for the Grace of my vocation! Thank You, Sweet Lord, for having allowed me to find the pearl of great price, and sell all the passing pleasures and temporal treasures on earth for it! Thank you, Lord Jesus, for the unfathomably beautiful and endlessly blissful gift of the consecrated life, by which even here and now, I begin to live the fullness of eternal life, of Paradise, through, with, and in You!

I love You Jesus! I love You Papa God! I love You Mother Mary! I love You Saint Joseph! Love, Your servant, sinner, soldier, and son…

“Little Gregory” Your Beloved One

Verse: Psalm 37:4: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will grant you your hearts desire.”

Poem: Thank You Lord!

For every special and sacred space, every foreign and familiar and face, for every perfect and plentiful present-moment grace…

I say, “Thank You, Thank You, Thank You Lord!”

For every restful night, every morning delight, for every hour in between, of promising daylight…

For every unutterable goodbye and lighthearted greeting, every long-awaited reunion and unanticipated meeting, for every interaction and encounter, no matter how simple or fleeting…

I say, “Thank You, Thank You, thank You, Thank You, Lord!”

For every family member and friend of old, every inside joke and outdoor adventure yet to unfold, for every human companion and connection, more permanent and precious than pure gold…

I say, “Thank You, Thank You, Thank You Lord

For every elementary school student with whom I free ran wild, every nursing home resident to whom I lovingly smiled, for every human being on this earth, man, woman, or child…

I say, “Thank You, Thank You, thank You, Thank You, Lord!”

For every inspiration to prayer, every blessing to share, for every opportunity show forgiveness and forbearance, kindness and care…

For every sacrament and priest, every thorough Confession and cathartic release, for every last bit of inner healing and harmony, forgiveness and freedom, pardon and peace…

I say, “Thank you, thank you, thank You Lord!”

For every heartfelt aspiration, every heavenly inspiration, for every Holy Communion in which our innermost Union brings me to deepest relief and highest elation…

I say, “Thank you, thank you, thank You Lord!”

For every deep wooded forest and soft little flower, every loud thunderstorm and light rain-shower, for every aspect of Creation which manifests Your gentleness and power…

I say, “Thank You, thank You, thank You Lord!”

For every mammal, reptile, insect, and bird, every pack, flock, colony, and herd, for every living creature which comes forth from Your life-giving Word…

I say, “Thank You, thank You, thank You Lord”

For every scenic landscape and luminous star, every nebula, planet, and galaxy, near and far, for every beauty and wonder in the universe that gives a glimpse of all You are…

I say “Thank You, Thank You, Thank You Lord!”

For every passing year, every bittersweet tear, for every memory I’ve ever held dear…

I say,  “Thank You, Thank You, Thank You Lord!”

Every valley and hill, every boredom and thrill, for every last detail of your Most Holy Will…

I say, “Thank You, Thank You, Thank You Lord!

Yes…even for every suffering, sickness, struggle and sorrow, every cross you carry before, beside, and within me and Crucifixion we both undergo, in every moment of yesterday, today, and tomorrow…

For every trial, tribulation, temptation, and test, every doubt, disappointment, discomfort or distress, for every passing pain I embrace by which my soul and countless others will be eternally blessed

For every battle I face, whether victory or defeat, every soul I embrace, whether bitter or sweet, for every chance to overcome myself and love You and others with my every breath and heartbeat

I say, “Thank You, Thank You, Thank You Lord!

Because now I see…that experience, from the good and the bad, both celebrations and lamentations, every emotion, from happy and the sad, both consolations and desolations, yes, everything You’ve ever given me was for my sanctification and salvation, my holiness and happiness, my greatest good and Your greater glory!

And even though all eternity will be too short to sing all of your praises, with all those who will glorify You throughout all lands and gases, on this very day, in this humble yet wholehearted way…

Still I say…

“Thank You, Thank You, Thank You Lord!

Quote: from the Diary of St. Faustina, Paragraphs 15-17: “This is how I was accepted. However, for many reasons I still had to remain in the world for more than a year with that pious woman [Aldona Lipszycowa], but I did not go back to my own home. At that time I had to struggle with many difficulties, but God was lavish with His graces. An ever greater longing for God began to take hold of me. The lady, pious as she was, did not understand the happiness of religious life and, in her kindheartedness began to make other plans for my future life. And yet, I sensed that I had a heart so big that nothing would be capable of filling it. And so I turned with all the longing of my soul to God. 16 It was during the octave of Corpus Christi [June 25, 1925]. God filled my soul with the interior light of a deeper knowledge of Him as Supreme Goodness and Supreme Beauty. I came to know how very much God loves me. Eternal is His love for me. It was at vespers — in simple words, which flowed from the heart, I made to God (6) a vow of perpetual chastity. From that moment I felt a greater intimacy with God, my Spouse. From that moment I set up a little cell in my heart where I always kept company with Jesus. 17 At last the time came when the door of the convent was opened for me — it was the first of August [1925], in the evening, the vigil [of the feast] of Our Lady of the Angels. I felt immensely happy; it seemed to me that I had stepped into the life of Paradise. A single prayer was bursting forth from my heart, one of thanksgiving.”

Note: This diary excerpt belongs to the Fathers of the Immaculate Conception of the BLV

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