Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross in Green Bay, WI

Like a bolt from out of the blue

Like a bolt from out of the blue
For today's Baptism of the Lord, be aware of God's relentless call and the endless possibilities when we say 'yes'

by Sister Elise Cholewinski

When Jesus stepped out of the waters of the Jordan, having just undergone His baptism, it must have hit Him like a bolt from out of the blue to hear the words of the Father:  “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” How did Jesus handle this emotional shock?  He spent time in the desert, sorting it out, coming to grips with His vocation.

It was an awesome September morning, my first day of college. The large windows in the auditorium were open, and I could see the bright blue sky and the lush green trees waving in the wind.  The orientation was about to begin, and as I focused on the stage, I found myself asking, “What if this room was the chapel in a convent?”  A bolt from the blue!  My immediate response was, “No!  I can’t do it!”  My life was planned, but I would spend the next six years sorting it out.

My desert was not the rocky, barren hill country of Judea, but the college campus where I had a full scholarship, my home, and later an apartment and a classroom in a public school.  I had money, independence, and a relationship that could have gone somewhere.  The questions that eventually arose centered on whether or not I was simply shadowing my twin sister, pursuing her desire to enter religious life.

Jesus came forth from His baptismal retreat a strong and determined person, conscious of His mission.  He soon thereafter would announce to the people of Nazareth that the Scriptures were being fulfilled through Him.  My own desert experience strengthened my self-knowledge and the awareness of my personal call.  On the day I entered the convent I passed my sister on the sidewalk, stepped up to the building, grabbed the handle, and opened the door myself.

The Lord’s invitation opens up a world of possibilities.  It truly is like a bolt from out of the blue.  All we have to do is open the door and step inside.



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