This past Saturday, the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati was wonderfully and doubly blessed! We celebrated the final profession of S. Annie Klapheke, and also were able to bless and affirm the final profession of S. Tracy Kemme, who professed her vows in a very restricted setting almost two years ago in the midst of the pandemic chaos.
As these two prayerful, committed young women stood before their congregation, family and friends, it was plain for all to see that they had discerned well and were following where God had led them. (To view the celebration of Mass.)
Witnessing such a beautiful and joyful event makes it easy to forget the long journey that led up to it. But real discernment is difficult and can sometimes be downright tricky. There are always ups and downs, but how do you know if you are on the right path or have made the right decision? Discerning with the fruits of the Spirit can help.
Nobody is perfect, and as they say, we’re all a work in progress, but it may be helpful to reflect honestly about how you may be changing from a long view. More than a fleeting emotion or a personality wish list, these characteristics run deep and are the result of our sustained openness and cooperation with the Divine. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Gal 5:22-23).
Here are some questions to reflect on these gifts in light of what you are discerning:
Are you growing to be more loving, in that you want the best for even those who are difficult or hurtful towards you?
Do you experience a resonating and persistent joy that comes from seeing how God is at work in your life?
Are you at peace or tormented by second-guessing and doubting yourself?
Do you find that you are less reactive when provoked or when you are feeling insecure or threatened in some way?
Are you kind and gentle with people even while not allowing yourself to be mistreated?
Do you embody goodness and seek to make the world a better place by what you do and say?
Are you faithful to who you are, to who God made you to be, relying on God to guide you?
Do you practice self-control or are you prone to outbursts and meltdowns?
Do you enjoy practicing moderation and simplicity?
Blessings, and may your fruitful harvest be abundant!