I´m exhausted, but I feel energized. I´m not doing anything particularly “fun”, but I´m enjoying myself immensely. I´m not getting anything out of this on a practical level, but something is overflowing with joy inside of me.
These three weeks of summer camp have been quite paradoxical.
After one particular outing, I returned to Woodlands Academy asking myself why I so thoroughly enjoyed a day of following eight ten-year-old girls around Dublin and two hours on a very noisy bus. I must admit, it puzzled me for a few hours. It really did. Because there was something on the outside saying why in the world are you spending your life like this…while something on the inside was saying I am just… so… HAPPY.
So first, I thought that maybe what I was enjoying was the motherly side of my role here. Being with the campers night and day for a month, especially with little ones so far from home, very easily sets itself up for becoming a type of mom. Waking them up, putting them to bed, taking care of one with tonsillitis and another who fell off the bunk bed and has a busted lip, helping them find their clean and always lost laundry, making sure they take a shower… I do, of course, enjoy all this, so I thought maybe that was the answer to my puzzlement.
But I quickly realized there is something else. Although it´s how I would expect this to work, I actually don´t feel a spiritual mother to these girls because of walking the halls until they´re asleep or (more-or-less patiently) entertaining their endless inquisitiveness, or even taking the time to have a personal conversation with each of them. It´s because I believe God has asked me to spend myself for them.
Spend. It´s a powerful word when applied to your life. To spend and consume themselves for souls was a phrase that always caught my attention in the Serran prayer for vocations that I used to pray in my home parish. A similar word in our statutes of the Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi has come to my mind a lot during these few weeks… holocaust. By definition, it´s an offering that is completely consumed by fire. It is the offering of my very self that I place at his feet to be completely consumed by his love, which means I may never know what he chooses to do with it. My desire and joy is simply to lovingly and freely make the offering to him.
Slowly I began to realize that it is the holocaust of very person–my time, my energy, my preferences…that is making space for me to be filled with the utter fullness of God (Eph. 3:11). And when he fills, he overflows. I still can´t fathom how the utter fullness of God is meant to find space in my little heart, but I´ve found a fulfillment so real that I know that he is doing it somehow. The greater the holocaust, the more Jesus himself becomes my energy, my joy…my beloved in whom I delight (Mt 12:18).
The Gospel at Mass tomorrow is the passage of Martha and Mary. It made me smile when I realized that, because these three weeks I´ve been returning to that passage a lot in my heart. It was a source of a lot of light for me in my vocational discernment, and continues to be a place where I encounter my Spouse anew. During these few weeks in particular, I feel like I´ve been living off of two words from this Gospel passage: one thing. Amid the ever-changing drama of ten-year-old girls, the never-ending list of things to set up, and the hours of supervision and head counts, there is only one thing I´ve been doing these three weeks… and you know what? That one thing is completely enough. It´s the one thing I desire to do with my entire life. It´s the place inside of me where I´m saying I am just… so… HAPPY .
It´s belonging to him.