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What Am I Here For?

 



Sr. Ronafel De Leon, during her Perpetual Vows
on October 15, 2010 
at the Good Shepherd Convent, Banawa Hills, Cebu City 

Above: Sr. Rona with Sr. Imelda Fuentes, as they offered their response on their perpetual vows
Below: With Sisters, family and friends

       This basic question of our existence, "What am I here for?" is a step towards finding our own humanity and a way to discover our human nature:  “A human being who co-exists with other human beings and the rest of creation”.  Just as we believe in the Holy Trinity that reflects relationship of equality we too as created beings share the same meaning in relation to each other.

          What prompted me to enter religious life was this basic question that stirred my heart as I watched the news on television regarding the Afganistan war in 2001 upon arrival from work when I was not yet in the convent.  I was deeply moved by those older people and children crying in bitter anguish and hunger while extending their hand for help.  My heart went out to them and I dared to ask myself, what am I here for and why am I still here in this business world when Jesus is inviting me to follow His way in the religious life?  Such feeling of incompleteness within disturbed me knowing that there are many people who needed not just material but also spiritual help.  I began reflecting on my learning and meaningful experiences in the past with deep sense of joy and gratitude for those opportunities in the Campus Ministry as a volunteer, giving service without counting the cost. 

          In the Novitiate, I was touched by the words of SME almost similar to mine when she said, “What am I here for if not for the salvation of the world”?  This passage served as cooperators in the work of God’s mercy not just in deeds but also in the scroll of my initial formation years, what was striking and meaningful was the experience of reconciliation within the community in smaller and bigger circumstances of our contemplative life: the mystery of daily dying and rising.  Such witnessing enabled me to face the same challenge for my own conversion and reconciliation as SME reminds us that the conversion starts from within.  Given this privilege to live closely with one another, with no opportunity to escape from any conflict, gave me the venue to practice the spirit of compassion and reconciliation, made possible “the word made flesh” and become a reality in our contemporary world.

 

          I consider my three (3) days’ immersion with a family in Talayan Village, del Monte, Quezon City in the beginning of our Theological year at IFRS in 2008 as an unforgettable and a life-giving event of my contemplative vocation.  When I have to be rooted in Jesus praying and contemplating in the busy, crowded, noisy and cluttered environment, when I have to experience the reality of lining up for four hours under the heat of the sun on the street in order to avail of NFA rice at a lower price for the consumption of the family, when I have the opportunity to share and apply my first aid treatment that time when my foster mother got sick after we got our portion of rice.  Above all it was a family experience of an initial stage of reconciliation among them as husband and wife and children.  Had I not listened to God’s inspiration to accept this challenge because of this problematic family set up I would not have experienced this daily miracle of life.  I’ve learned to embrace the noise around me by embracing the noise within, recognizing the voice of God in them as they shared their stories, trials and successes.  At the end of our life, God might ask not only “have we loved?” but “where is your neighbor?” as God commanded us to love our neighbor as ourselves.  That is why I am still here not only because Jesus drew me to himself but also because I believe that God called me to follow Jesus in His redemptive mission of bringing more souls back to the fold by the witness of our contemplative life and unceasing return to the source of my being and to my neighbor as well.  For God loves us for what we are.  May our doing be the fruit of our being!

by:  Sr. Ronafel U. de Leon, CGS

 

       July 31, 2010