“Do You Believe in the Resurrection?”
By Victoria Clarizio
For part 1 of my story, click here. When I was in high school I had a powerful, undeniable experience of being called to discern religious life. A call from God was placed like a burning ache in my heart. A desire to belong totally to Him compelled me answer this call in the best way I knew how: literal consecration to him–a life dedicated to the Church and married to Christ. I wanted to give myself totally to Him, as a wife gives herself to her husband.
As I learned more about discernment, I was taught that this desire alone is not enough. My Vocation needed to be confirmed by God, the Church, and my particular community. At every stage I examined my heart and asked God if He wanted me to continue along the path to religious life. The answer always seemed to be yes.
Then, last Lent, after being with the community for three and a half years, God seemed to be calling me elsewhere. When I first made the decision I was filled with peace, joy and excitement. It incredibly hard to leave the community that had become my family and my heart broke, but I trusted that God has an amazing plan for my life.
But shortly after I got home, the full weight of what He had asked me to do hit me. One night I lay in my bed, feeling utterly alone. Through sobs, I held nothing back of my raw heart.
“Why did you make me do that, God? You took me away from my family, my home, people who loved me.”
I felt deceived and betrayed by God. For the first few months I gave God the silent treatment.
When I started to pray again my conversation with God went something like this:
“God, I’m sorry for ignoring You.”
“That’s okay, my daughter. I asked you to do something really hard. I knew what I was asking. I knew you would have a hard time trusting Me again. I trusted you enough to not abandon Me when I asked you to do the hard thing. This is a relationship and it’s going to take time to rebuild.”
It was like discovering all over again how merciful and compassionate God is. His tenderness broke down the barrier between us. I had permission to be angry, to question–I didn’t have to ignore Him because I was ashamed of my doubt. So the past year has been one long act of faith, hope and trust. I have been Job, promising, “though He slay me, I will trust Him still.” Although my heart hasn’t believed it, my head knows objectively that God is trustworthy.
During Lent last year and again entering into this Lent I had to ask myself, “Do I believe in the resurrection?” My head’s answer is yes, but my heart is more doubtful.
There are many times of darkness in our lives when it seems like there can’t possibly be any hope, any way out. It seems like God’s promises are false, especially the promise that he is with us and has plans for our good. In times like these I think of Mary’s faith at the foot of the cross. Pope Saint John Paul II wrote about her faith in Redemptoris Mater:
“At that moment she had also heard the words: “He will be great…and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Lk. 1:32-33). And now, standing at the foot of the Cross, Mary is the witness, humanly speaking, of the complete negation of these words.”
Mary stood at the cross, looking at what seemed to the “complete negation” of God’s promises, and yet she had perfect faith in the resurrection of her son.
Come back next week to find out how God has been restoring my trust in him and showing me that he always fulfills his promises!
Author Bio: Victoria Clarizio is a Catholic writer and teacher. She blogs at One Pearl about prayer, scripture, Ignatian meditation, and Jesus the Bridegroom. She encountered Christ in a deeper way through praying with scripture during her time discerning with a religious community and hopes to help others do the same. She is currently pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing at Fairfield University and is working on a memoir about her spiritual journey. When she’s not writing, Victoria is hanging out with her rambunctious ninth graders(mostly boys!) at the homeschooling co-op where she teaches. She lives in Connecticut with her parents and is excited to see where God calls her next.