I am still in awe of God’s love for me. Like Elizabeth’s gratitude at Mary’s visit, I utter; how does it happen to me, who knew God much later in life, could be chosen to be his Own?

Growing up in a war-torn country where we suffered in many ways, I was subconsciously searching for love from those around me and only received disappointment and dissatisfaction. Then, not knowing God personally, I let him stand on the side of the road waiting for me to call him to be with me. I made my own decisions without consulting him and had to pay dire consequences. But a child is forever a child, Father God ran over to me when I fell but didn’t have the strength to stand back up. He gave me the desire to come home to the Church – at the age of 30 – and I responded to his promptings. Afterward, I began to learn about the faith, to adjust my lifestyle, and to do everything that was good for my soul. I also came to accept the Blessed Virgin Mary and begged her to reveal to me who she is as well as to teach me to love God. See how I couldn’t save myself, but I let God redeem me? May God be blessed for his great kindness. Not long after, I decided to become a saint and responded to the call of being a religious sister and sought out a Community God had in mind for me.

And that has been 15 years since I had my conversion of heart, 10 years in the Servants of the Cross Community, and 5 years since I finally professed. Yes, this November, I will celebrate the fifth-year anniversary of making my Final Promises.

Leading to that special day, November 28th, 2018, I prepared my heart for union with God. I renewed my commitment to follow him perseveringly. I asked him to grace me with faith and spiritual insights. I believed in God’s promises that he would open the heavens and pour down blessings without measure upon me and other people (Malachi 3:10). And he did!

During the ceremony, I knew I was under an open heaven. The angels and Saints, the holy men and women, witnessed the moment when a soul laid down her life for God’s glory.

They sang the Litany of the Saints as I laid prostrate on the floor, dedicating my all to God. Rising up, I was infused with joy. As I professed my Promises, I felt the anointing of God upon me, as if the Holy Spirit was speaking through me. I am forever grateful that I had been chosen to be a Bride of the Lamb.

I spent the following week living in the reality that God has loved me with an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3). I was grateful that I had discovered and experienced God’s love for me. Every time I hear that Scripture verse, I feel so secure and comforted, believing that I am loved even from the beginning of time into eternity. His love will always be full and total, unlike human love which is conditional and rationed due to our imperfect performance.

My life journey since my conversion has been the most adventurous one. Joy and sadness. Hope and pain. Faith in God and the condition of man. Every day, I go to the Lord and commend my life to him. So, it’s been a life of grace. God has healed me from past wounds and traumas. It’s easier to run away, but I courageously face up those life experiences by immersing myself in God’s healing power. I let him squeeze out all my anger, bitterness, and resentment and fill me with patience, peace, and wisdom. It’s painful but hopeful. I want God to purify me now from all hurts and expand my heart for love of him and of others for his sake. I’d rather be purged now while being on earth instead of in purgatory later. I want him to transform me into his image and likeness, to be one with him so that I could be a walking temple of the Holy Spirit and to be a blessing to other people.

“Jesus and I are ONE,” I declare this truth every day. I remind myself that in order to be a wonderfully anointed person and to serve God in ways he wants me to, I need to be one with him, in heart and in deeds. This abiding in God is possible because of his boundless Mercy.

Yes, being ONE. Jesus had become my love before I could name it. I recently saw a beautiful souvenir plaque in a Christian bookstore, “I have found the one whom my soul loves,” (Songs 3:4) and I stood still… Woo… My heart was captured. I didn’t imagine that one day I could say something like that, to God, my Redeemer. I realized then that I had found my love, THE LOVE. The real one, the one that brings me hope and meaning forever.

God is the source of my life and the purpose of my existence, in this life as well as in the next.

Know that God has “loved you with an everlasting love” (Jer. 31:3) as well and wants you also to find the one whom your soul loves, himself.

One Comment

  1. Anne December 4, 2023 at 7:12 am - Reply

    Such a beautiful story Sr. Michael Penelope. Thank you for sharing and God bless you on your journey.

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