Nowadays, many people are having their most difficult time emotionally and financially due to the side-effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that invites us to reflect on the meaning of empty churches throughout the world.
Without much faith and courage, small businesses as well as religious organizations might go bankrupt at this epochal turning point.
Whenever I dream of my mother, she usually has a message for me. I feel that she, like a guardian angel, constantly prays for me so that I may live this blessed religious life most faithfully to the end.
When she was alive, she sometimes compared me with my second sister who entered the religious congregation 23 years ahead of me, in a sense that I might resemble her good personality. In the beginning, when I heard such a comment, I disliked it, but I began to accept the personal differences as they are and to learn from my elder sister as well as other people around.
Recently in a dream, my mother recommended again for me to see my elder sister and change my lifestyle. What a spiritual warning along the journey of my life!
It is a custom for us, the religious sisters, to read daily biblical passages (the first reading and the Gospel) before going to bed every day, which is called "Lectio Divina" (Divine reading), a monastic practice of scriptural reading (Lectio), meditation (Meditatio), prayer (Oratio), and contemplation (Contemplatio), ultimately to arrive in communion and unity with God.
One day, the first reading was about the mission of Jonah the prophet, and the Gospel was about the necessity of repentance as in the story of Jonah who proclaimed that Nineveh would be destroyed after 40 days. At the preaching of Jonah, all the citizens including the king were converted and, thus, changed their lifestyles. As a result, God also changed his mind to condemn people.
Such is the heart of compassionate mercy. The clearest sign to protect nature was given through the pandemic, and many people around the world are beginning to change their lifestyles of consumerism and egoistic individualism.
I think the conversion is not a one-time event but a life-long process throughout the ongoing journey of life. Reflecting on that particular message of Jonah the prophet, I went to bed. Then, something happened in my unconscious.
When I woke up in the morning, I felt I had become spiritually bankrupt. I felt I was not worthy of living this life. My ego is still so strong and powerful that my own will goes ahead of God's will from time to time. I am self-centered in some ways even though I try hard to purify and empty my ego.
I had various plans and dreams popping up with my creativity, but as time passed by, I realize that the most important thing is to do God's will, whether I am here or there, whether I do this or that.
Definitely, it is urgent for me to transform myself so that I can deeply be rooted in the heart of Jesus. Coming out of my dream of going spiritually bankrupt, I feel the necessity of continuous spiritual conversion. Truly by the most merciful grace of God, I am living here and now. I am a miracle and a gift from God.
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