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Monday, 25 November 2019 07:00

God called me...... A story from Kathryn

 2019.69.God called me KK.main blog image

Sitting atop Mt Ruapehu in New Zealand during a week of snowboarding, I had a moment of clarity. Freshly graduated from a double degree of Engineering and Exercise Science, I was 23 and had the whole world ahead of me. I decided that one day I was going to bring my kids here to share this outrageously incredible beauty with them. Three weeks later, I was telling my best friend that I was going to be a nun. I can’t help but smile when I think about those three weeks that gently unfolded to me who I was, and who I truly wanted to be. I was a bungee-jumping, sports-playing, Disney-watching girl who’d already fallen in love with Jesus. But what was that supposed to look like? I had often asked God the question, but I hadn’t always been open to hearing the answer.

During my life, I’d often reflected on the most striking homily I remembered hearing as a little girl. The priest said, ‘Life is like having a free movie ticket: it holds incredible possibility, but only if you use it’. I had a ticket. I could choose whatever I wanted, though choosing one door would mean I wasn’t choosing the others. So what did I want? Could I overcome my fear of missing out and commit to just one? I remember the excitement that rose in me when I realised that God wasn’t going to push me through any of them. All the doors were open, but I was going to have to choose one.

So, what were the things that I couldn’t live without? A milkshake catch-up with a friend ended in me answering this question on a serviette in a café: ‘To love Jesus with my life and for all eternity’, and ‘To have an adventure’. These were the two things I knew I needed in order to live my life authentically. Listening to these simple desires of my heart gave me the freedom to acknowledge the call I’d been hearing for a long time but had been too scared to admit. My life was going to be different. Would I let God use my life to be a stream of love into the world in a special way? It was an offer so irresistible that I couldn’t imagine refusing.Yes! Let the adventure begin!

I’m now 28, and earlier this year made my initial vows with the Missionaries of God’s Love (MGL) Sisters. I love living a life that is congruent with the values and priorities I hold. I have witnessed over and over again the astounding impact, far beyond my own efforts, when I simply make my time available to listen to and to love people I meet. In prayer, in sisterhood, and in mission, love unveils meaning and joy in life over and over again. My days are devoted to these three pillars of our way of life. God for me is intimate and infinite. He is intimate in the way he knows the uniqueness of my heart and communicates in its languages. Every surprise, adventure, whisper and vista touches a special place in my heart that only he can. Yet he is also infinite in beauty, inexhaustible in goodness, and the depths of his love are unfathomable. I experience him in nature, in people, in silence, in music and in surprises.

My life as a sister is an ever-unfolding joy. Sitting in the silence with someone as they prepare for their death, preaching in the villages of Papua New Guinea, running crazy youth-group games, having cups of tea with criminals and drug addicts. Every day is a new encounter of love that takes me deeper into an understanding of God, and of myself. I long for all people to come to a knowledge of themselves as loved. As I allow my relationship with love to draw out the fullness of who I was created to be, I endeavour to give others the freedom to do the same. There is such a difference in the way someone lives when they live in the identity of one who is loved. Anxiety gives way to peace, fear gives way to courage, doing gives way to being, and indifference gives way to joy. My great hope is that my life opens up people’s hearts and minds to the unseen. If through me they experience something of patience, generosity, peace, joy or love, then they encounter something of God. One of the gifts of living consecrated life is the witness to the world of my relationship of love, which makes tangible the invisible God that I’m in relationship with. My life says that through obedience the greatest freedom is found in trusting God, through poverty the greatest joy is found in the things that

can’t be bought, and through chastity the greatest love story of all time is found in that of Jesus and his bride.

It might seem scary to put your life into the hands of someone else, but it’s only by living obedience that I’ve come to a

deeper understanding of it. God has created and called me, uniquely gifted and natured. Obedience requires of me that I take responsibility in discerning my gifts, and the leadings of God in my life. I then submit these to those in leadership in the truest sense of the word, I put my life under the mission of the Missionaries of God’s love. I can think of no greater freedom than being free to say yes to who I’m called to be. Do I ever have doubts? I’m often faced with well-meaning

members of the public telling me that I’m wasting my life, and even some members of my family don’t really understand why I’m living the life that I do. My best friend as well as the first of my four brothers got engaged earlier this year. It definitely makes me think about my life. Will I still be content with my decision in 50 years’ time, when they are happily married with kids and grandkids? Am I willing to live in a different state or even country to those closest to me, for the sake of love?

I think it’s healthy to ask questions. I don’t always get an answer the moment I ask, but my relationship with God is as real as with any man I could have married. What’s our life going to look like? How are you going to provide for this need or that need in my life? Can I trust you? Asking questions has opened me up to understanding the providence of God. He knows what I need, and in his great love he moves mountains to give it to me in the most unexpected and exhilarating ways.

I treasure the times in my day when I get to sit in adoration, as well as the times of solitude that I take somewhere out of the city for a few days several times a year. Letting loose for me often looks like just giving myself permission to be counter-cultural to the busyness of the world around me, and soak in the glory of an ‘unproductive’ afternoon under a tree. I also enjoy playing and developing board and card games, playing guitar and djembe, writing, sport in all its forms, baking, and watching Gilmore girls with friends. However, my greatest joy of all is watching someone encounter the love of God. I feel pretty privileged to know what I want with my life, and to have the freedom to live it every day.

Kathryn Kingsley (originally written for Melbourne Catholic)