Saturday, January 4, 2014

Memorial of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton: Trust and You'll See

“What are you looking for? … Come, and you will see.” - Jn 1:38-39

These two responses of Jesus in the Gospel flow together as one for me. When Jesus asks the disciples what they are looking for, they answer with a literal answer of “where are you staying?” but Jesus had been asking them about something much deeper. When taken together as one, I hear that if I follow and go along with Jesus, I will see what it is I am truly looking for.

Today the Church celebrates Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American-born saint. She was the foundress of the parish school system and the first American women’s religious order, a branch of the Daughters of Charity. Her journey into answering Jesus’ query of “what are you looking for?” was filled with turns and twists, as well as heartache and loneliness.

A devout Episcopalian, Elizabeth married and had five children before being widowed and bankrupted at age 29. During her husband’s illness, she found great kindness and support in Catholic friends, which ultimately led to her conversion. She faced extreme discrimination for her decision to become Catholic. Her deep trust in God’s goodness and ability to see Christ so present in the poor compelled Elizabeth to move through the pain and loneliness to follow where Jesus led.

As a young Episcopalian wife and mother, she never could have imagined herself as a Catholic woman religious. Elizabeth’s ability to listen for God simply and faithfully helped her to discover those deep urgings within her own soul, and thus her calling in life.

At 29 years old, as I settle into my third trimester of pregnancy, certain elements of my life and vocation come into clearer focus. Meanwhile, Elizabeth becomes a reminder of how responding to Jesus’ call opens even more doorways and possibilities. I am invited to trust that each step I take will be another opportunity to go where Jesus already is and to remain there with Him.

Lord, how are you already expanding my horizons and my faith in 2014?
Are you inviting me to walk more closely with you in some way? 

Reflected by Jen Coito

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