Totally Unplanned and Totally Appreciated

Blog by Sr. Beata Tiboldi

I recently took my perpetual profession of vows. It was a very joyful celebration. As the ‘big day’ approached, I became more and more excited. I was filled with all the hyper-active energy the Spirit could provide. During the planning days, I was reminded many times, lightheartedly and at times even jokingly, to focus, and I’m sure they meant it. However, there was an unplanned happening during Mass which moved me a lot. I didn’t even need to be reminded to ‘focus’ at that time. It naturally came. This was an experience that I most likely have shared with many people in the chapel. Several sisters came to me after liturgy, expressing how grateful they were for ‘it’ and the entire celebration helped them feel like they were renewing their commitment to God within our community.

Before Mass, we told Fr. Mike Trainor, OP, our priest, that we would sing all three verses of the song: “How shall I sing to God” because we would sing it for meditation. After receiving communion, I usually start my prayer with: “Jesus, let your way be my way.” Choosing the song: “How shall I sing to God” by Brian Wren (text) and David Haas (tune) for meditation was very intentional, but it was the “it” that opened my heart and allowed me to let the Spirit work in me, tuning me into what I was about proclaim in song.

So, what was the ‘it’? What was that unexpected ‘thing’ that helped us be moved into a deeper meditation or helped to renew our vows? It was the pause and the waiting right before the song for meditation. It might seem subtle to anyone who wasn’t there, but the pause was so powerful. It was totally unplanned and totally appreciated. The pause was so perfectly timed, and it added a lot for me. I’m not talking about a usual pause between two songs. It was a pause, lasting until everyone, including extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion and altar servers, would have the opportunity to sit down and tune into what we were about to sing and reflect on. That pause provided the prayerful environment to be able to allow God work in us and to be able to full-heartedly sing that song to God.

When we receive a news, whether it’s a joyful news, a sad news or a shocking news, we usually pause for a moment to let it sink in before we respond to the news. There were so much joys and emotions to handle during the celebration: professing my vows for my whole life, celebrating with so many sisters, family members, and all who have been journeying with me in faith, remembering our deceased loved ones, being inspired by the reflection of the Mass readings, receiving communion, the joyful music, the boost of the Easter joy, and the list could go on. The pause helped me to let all of these emotions sink in, and then it helped me to allow the Spirit to move in me to sing this song to God as my response to God’s call.

In the song, we sang that, whether life is filled with gladness or bleakness, either way, we would sing God’s song with love. Whether I just took my vows for my life, or the sisters who took their vows for life, or married couples who took their vows for life, or associates who took their commitments, or the women discerning vowed religious life; we all sang this song together, singing God’s love. In times of gladness, as well as in times of sufferings – we continue to proclaim God’s love until love conquers all. This is our response to God’s call in the various ministries we serve. It is a life-long commitment and a “thanksgiving sacrifice” as the psalmist writes in Psalm 116. Let me close this blog with the last line of each verse of this song: “This is my song, and I’ll sing it with love.”

If you are considering responding to God’s call as a vowed religious or as an associate, please contact us at vocations@oppeace.org.

Lyrics of the song:

How shall I sing to God when life is filled with gladness, loving and birth, wonder and worth?
I’ll sing from the heart, thankfully receiving, joyful in believing;
This is my song – I’ll sing it with love.

How shall I sing to God when life is filled with bleakness, empty and chill, breaking my will?
I’ll sing through my pain, angrily or aching, crying or complaining;
This is my song – I’ll sing it with love.

How shall I sing to God and tell my Savior’s story, Passover bread, life from the dead?
I’ll sing with my life: witnessing and giving, risking and forgiving;
This is my song – I’ll sing it with love.

Posted in God Calling??, News

13 responses to “Totally Unplanned and Totally Appreciated

  1. Thanks Bea for sharing such a significant experience of God. I wish I could have been there to witness your Profession. Congratulations and many happy years ahead Easter Peace, Helen

  2. I was filled with JOY hearing about your vow day and that beautiful song, Thank you for sharing. It must have been wonderful to be there. Welcome and love to you.

  3. Beautiful reminder to pause and reflect at both the beautiful heart felt things in life but also those that bring sadness for it is in both that we are brought closer to Christ’s love thanks for sharing and congratulations

  4. Dear Bea, your reflection on your blog, touched me deeply. You are such a loving, caring, compassion sister that has blossomed Thank you for making your final profession and for being there for all of us. You are loved and treasured by many. Love u dear sister! Peace, Alicia

  5. Thanks for sharing this simple, but moving experience. If only we had it built into us (and it could be) to pause often. Thanks.

  6. Bea,
    Many thanks for sharing your experience of the “pause”, which was a moment of silence to encounter our Loving God! May your moments stretch into longer times, rediscovering the power of silence, the power of encounter, and the power of the Presence of God… a great preparation for the Great Encounter to come!

  7. Thank you so much, Bea. I rejoice with you and with us
    at this wonderful time in your and our life. We will continue to sing with our lives: witnessing and giving, risking and forgiving. Singing our song with love.

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