One of my favorite lines of St. Raphaela Mary is “Today, I want to be the joy of the Lord”. It speaks so much of her great desire to follow the Lord and her willingness to do it one day at a time. And on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, two of my companions in novitiate desired to do the same. Sr. Swati Lakra and Sr Delfina Dos Santos consecrated themselves to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus professing the vows of obedience, chastity, and poverty at all costs. Their offering surely brought joy to the Heart of God.

However, during the celebration, I heard a louder voice jubilantly shouting “Today, I want to be the joy of My Handmaids”.  As I ponder these words, I was reminded of the very essence of the Solemnity: to celebrate and receive the unselfish and overflowing love of God, the Love that delights more in giving than in receiving. Indeed, ours are only a return of love.

The Lord filled the gathering with this love. As I look at the faces of the people beautified by their smiles, and as I heard the waves of laughter and the unending greetings, I feel affirmed that the Lord was truly present in our midst. I was impressed by the courageous love of Sr. Swati and Sr. Efy as they humbly accepted God’s invitation to partake in His mission of Reparation. I feel encouraged and became hopeful that in God’s appointed time I too will profess my vows. I hope that by that time I will be braver in saying the words “at all costs” because for now, I feel doubtful that I can be true to these words. So, together with all the ACI sisters, we rejoiced in their audacity.

I also deeply appreciated the presence of many people who came to be with us especially our ACI Families, adults and youth, our benefactors, children in the apostolate, and the novices from the different congregations who were our classmates online. It gave me a taste of what synodality is all about. It is journeying and feasting together as one Church. It was noteworthy that one of those who attended was Mommy Eva, the mother of our new postulant. My encounter with her struck me as she shared that she felt more at ease with the choice of her daughter after seeing the joy of the Handmaids. The conversation made me value the vocation I received. I feel grateful too to the Lord for touching her heart.

I thank the Lord for once again showering us with His great love and grace.

Sr. Gellie Ann S. Lomaad,naci