07 Jul Thank You, God, for…Part 2
by Carol Ann Gieske and Tom White
I found the answer to the question burning in my heart in 1983—where does God want me to be?—at Madonna House. Thirty-nine years later I can still testify to the power of witness, for there I encountered people who believed in the words of Jesus and who sought to live them faithfully in daily life. Though Catherine Doherty’s life and words inspired me, it was my daily encounter with fellow Catholics that encouraged me even more.
By paths unknown He will lead me (Isaiah 42:16). I am grateful for the adventure of the Christian life lived in Madonna House.
I am grateful for getting to know people of various nationalities and cultures and the discovery of latent talents within myself through various assignments and opportunities to be creative.
I am also grateful for the encounter with the wisdom of the Fathers and Mothers of the Church through daily after-lunch spiritual reading and discussions. Most especially, I am grateful for the gift of communal liturgical prayer and daily Mass.
Our life with Christ is necessarily personal though. God wants my heart. He wants me to accept his love and love him back. This is true even though my sin is always before me (Ps. 51:3). I know I need a Saviour!
I am so grateful to have a spiritual director. “To want what Jesus wants is a beautiful thing.” “The Father is never displeased with you.” How can that be?
Spiritual direction provides the clarity, guidance, encouragement, and love I need to faithfully follow the Lord. Friendship with the Lord Jesus: can anything be more thrilling or seem more impossible?
But I live with people who really believe that with God all things are possible (Mt 19:26). Thanks be to God!
Why did I come to Madonna House? I couldn’t think of anything else to do. Why did I stay? I couldn’t think of any place to go. That second answer has become over the years: I couldn’t think of any place I would rather be.
In the end, what is life without God? All earthly satisfactions, passions, goals, possessions, desires, honors, pleasures, achievements, are passing. They have their place in God’s plan, but for me a life lived without God at its center is empty.
Madonna House has taught me that living an ordinary life for God and with God is a full life. Everything has its proper place: work, study, prayer, rest, love and friendship, knowledge and mystery, sorrow and suffering, solitude and companionship. In a life centered on God, everything fits together.