I ought to thank God, my Savior, for having given me this courage.
But once in the religious life, there is another step to make; in the novitiate one feels animated by a very great fervor. Then years are added to years, and if the soul is not vigilant, it becomes contented with mediocrity. Oh, exteriorly everything seems all right; the religious disedifies no one; is always at work; and causes no trouble to the superiors. But God demands more and the soul resists the absolute gift of self.
At times there is even a reclaiming of the gift; some real taking back, negligences consented to in prayer; curiosities unduly satisfied, comforts granted with only half good faith, and other similar weaknesses.
A Breton Jesuit of the seventeenth century, Father Rigoleuc, encouraged himself to take the definitive step, to cut all bonds, to profit by his third year, with the following thoughts:
"Will you always be unable to overcome yourself? Once for all give yourself completely to God. For such a long time He has inspired you with the plan for it and offered you the necessary grace without your yielding to His loving pursuits. Perhaps this is your last chance; you may never have another occasion like this to testify your zeal for His glory, and the desire you have for perfection. The time is short."I, too, must examine myself. Do I live in the constant habit of a total gift of self? For what am I waiting to sacrifice my last reserves? The time is short. The present invitation is perhaps the last for me.
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)