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“I am not Smarter than a Second Grader”- Religious Life through Binoculars

[caption id="attachment_4360" align="alignright" width="200"] Blog by Sr. Mai Dung Nguyen[/caption] Which lens do you use to look at religious life at this time? Before we discuss this question, let me share with you the story of “I am not Smarter than a Second Grader.” Two months ago, I ordered a binocular toy online for my eight-year-old nephew so he could explore nature. I checked it before giving it to him. I was so frustrated because the image seen through the binoculars was smaller than the real one. “Why don’t you give the binoculars to ……” Mom suggested when my nephew came. “Mom, it does not work” I replied. “Just give it to him. He may find out how to make it work” With her strong insistence and my nephew’s excitement, I gave it to him with doubt. “Wow, it’s so big. Beautiful!” I could not believe what he said. “How come that happened?” The design of the lenses caused me to look from the objective lens instead of the eyepiece lenses, making the images I was viewing to become smaller. Since I was so attached to my observation, I did not try the other way but made a hasty conclusion. My nephew was more flexible to try both ways for the best outcome. How can we learn from children like my nephew to be flexibile so possibilities can happen? In this aspect, I have to admit that “I am not smarter than a second grader!” Let’s apply this story of the binoculars to a view of religious life. Which lens from a pair of binoculars have you used to look at religious life at this time? If looking from the objective lens, you may conclude that religious life has no future and that it is boring because not many young people are entering and most of the sisters are elders. From the eyepiece lens, you will realize that although vowed-member has diminished, the core of religious life has been transformed daily, filled with love, grace, joy, and insight. This core calls us to be bold, more contemplative, more flexible, and more attentive to the signs of our times. It helps us to have faith-fulfilled confidence in our journey in the hands of God’s Providence. If you view religious life this way, you will be more open and have more courage about inviting young women to join us. To young women, if you feel you are being called live in religious life, do not be afraid. Are you willing to talk with us ( and allow your call about religious life to be transformed?  Then, contact one of our Vocation Ministers.

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