Dear Pope Francis,
I recently went on an interview retreat weekend with NET Ministries of Canada. I put the application in before Christmas and until the last couple of weeks I really wasn’t even sure applying was the right decision.
The last week or so I’ve been praying for an obvious sign pointing me in the right direction.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)
There were two interviews to do, one over Skype before I left for Halifax and another in person after I arrived but before the retreat started. Going in to the retreat I was terrified the powers that be at NET would say yes and ask me to go, but coming out I was more worried they would find a reason to tell me no.
The readings for mass this weekend really mirrored where my relationship with God has been of late. First we heard from Isaiah 49:14-15 where the Israelites are feeling as though God has forgotten them, and the reassurance that this is not the case. Then Psalm 62, about waiting for God.
“Therefore do not pronounce judgement before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart.” (1 Corinthians 4:5)
And finally, in the Gospel reading, the reminder not to worry.
One of the themes in my relationship with God that I became aware of this weekend is fear. How it has both pulled me away from God at times and drawn me closer to him at others.
I’ve spent a lot of time being afraid and asking God to take away the things I was afraid of, to fix the situations that were stressing me out so much. Being afraid has helped me develop an absolute trust that whatever happens, it will work out eventually. Somehow, it had never occurred to me to ask God to take away the fear.
As any four year old will tell you, eventually is a long time. God choosing to eventually resolve a problem feels an awful lot like not answering my prayer for everything to be okay.
Going in to the interview retreat, I asked for a sign that this is something I’m called to do or not do – and I got one. When John talked about Les équipes NET, the French language teams working in Quebec I felt a strong pull on my heart. It was the same kind of pull I felt when I was applied for SERVE three years ago, and it’s similar to the tug I often feel during the Gloria and the Eucharistic prayer at mass.
The year I turned 17, I spent the summer in Quebec on a language exchange. Before I came to Fredericton, I wanted to become a translator. I’ve lost most of my French because I haven’t used it much since. But I never lost the desire to be in Quebec, and I still enjoy the cadence of French when I hear it in the grocery store or on the radio. I still want to be bilingual.
I want to go on NET. I want to share my story with young Catholics and develop a deeper understanding of what my church believes. I think I can do so much good on NET. But if this isn’t where God wants me to be, or if I need to apply again in a year or two I need to not be afraid of what that means and keep searching for what I’m supposed to be doing right now.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Trusting there’s a plan,