Staying Faithful to Our Promises

By Sister Marianne Burkhard, OSB

marianne-portraitRecently I celebrated the Silver Jubilee of my monastic profession – an occasion to reflect about time.

25 years – where have they gone? How did I get through them – the good, the bad and the indifferent?

How do we get through the rough places in our lives? 

It is daunting to make a life-long decision – be it by professing religious vows, or getting married for life — and takes a lot of faith, even more so in this time of rapid changes and of great uncertainty in general.

What has helped me to remain faithful?

I think the greatest help is to live one day at a time rather than always looking at the future, at the good we want, the bad we fear, or at what may seem an interminable, scary future at the time we pronounce our vows.

Looking back, I see great moments when I felt truly filled with God’s spirit and love, my heart brimming with gratitude for my vocation, and others when things were hard, dark – at work, in my prayer life, in personal difficulties.

And there were long stretches of what I call ‘ordinary time’ without highs or lows, without helpful insights or engaging questions.

In retrospect, I have come to appreciate these times that have shown me how God is faithful – being present in small gestures, an unexpected good word that hit just the right spot, a colorful sunset, the first bird song like an answer to a prayer.

Mark’s parable of the seed growing by itself (Mk 4:26-29) is a wonderful lesson: a farmer sows seed, then sleeps and rises day in day out “and the seed would sprout and grow he knows not how.”

God has put his seeds into me. Into all of us. While we need to water them with prayer and good works, and uproot the weeds, the seed still grows, we don’t know how.

Time is God’s gift, and if we trust in God’s faithful love and mercy, being alert to the tiniest grace coming along our way, our time will be faithful, filled with God’s faithfulness that each day secretly grows in us and helps us stay faithful to our promises.

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