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The Comfort and the Challenge that Joy Brings

[caption id="attachment_6760" align="alignright" width="595"] Blog by Sister Bea Tiboldi[/caption] “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you discover the reason why.” (Mark Twain) Have you ever wondered why you were born? I wondered a lot. However, when I was a teenager, there was one Mass during which I caught myself crying silently. I felt very embarrassed, and with my mind racing, I tried to figure out the cause. In a few seconds, I realized that they were tears of joy. For the first time, I felt God’s immense love. I was no longer embarrassed about my tears. I felt happy. I felt grateful. Even more, I felt compelled to let others know about how much God loved them, especially those who most needed to know. I believe that this was the moment when I discovered why I was born and that God had a plan for me. This is how it all started. However, I needed to wait until I could pursue that call. As an adult, my enthusiasm to share the love and Word of God was still there, but I wasn’t sure which way I was to fulfill this call. There were so many vocations -being single, a mother, an associate, a vowed religious sister - to consider! I kept thinking about the call, but all it did was just make me restless. Later, I heard the song Take a chance on me,” and was moved to pursue discerning (prayerfully discovering and sorting out) God’s call more intentionally. As I started to discern, I started to feel less restless and more joyful - not necessarily just the joy that comes with smiles, but the joy that Pope Francis talks about in his Joy of the Gospel encyclical. It is not a temporary joy; it’s a joy that lasts. It’s the joy that takes a heart, compassion, attentiveness, and courage to act upon our faith, and to help others experience God's grace of liberation, forgiveness, faith and love. I discovered that living a life of prayer, study, community and ministry keeps boosting my energy to continue to spread God’s mission. After a long day, I might feel physically worn out, but my energy to continue to serve never wanes. As a Dominican Sister of Peace, joy continues to fill me with hope and peace, and at the same time, it challenges me to, as we say on the Dominican Sisters of Peace website, “strive to live a life of peace-making wherever we are and in everything we do. (…) The Gospel message of love and compassion lead us to be concerned about peace and justice issues, including comprehensive immigration reform, sensible gun control, alternatives to the death penalty, and advocacy against human trafficking among others. (…) We serve God’s people in many ways, including educationhealth carespirituality, pastoral care, prison ministry, the arts, and care of creation, among others.” You can learn more about who we are and what we stand for here. Pope Francis encourages us, “Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of missionary enthusiasm!” (The Joy of the Gospel, #80)  I invite you to reflect on the comfort and the challenge that joy brings to you. This is becoming rather a long blog. Since you have read until this point, you might want to ask yourself, “Why am I still reading this?” I invite you to pray with what you have read and see where it takes you. If you would like to experience a glimpse of religious life, come and visit us any time, or follow us on Facebook or Instagram. Also, we invite women between ages 18-45 to our “Come and See” weekend in Kentucky, Sept. 7-9, 2018. Email for more information.

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