When I was in grade school, I always had a difficult time dealing with the story of the Passion. I disliked the Stations of the Cross because I hated to see Jesus suffer. And I hated the thought that men could do something so terrible to Him.
The one thing which made the Stations of the Cross bearable for me was the “added” fifteenth station—“Jesus rises from the dead”. It made me feel that after Christ was finished dying to save the world, God would undo all the damage and thing could get back to normal. That is, we could all resume our business of loving God and trying to be good, and then live happily ever after.
I suppose in my heart I knew this wasn’t the case. Jesus did rise from the dead, but things could never go back to the way they were before the Crucifixion; just as we could never return to Eden, even while we were redeemed from original sin.
Even though I understood intellectually that Jesus’ risen life was truly better and more perfect then His earthly life, it took me a very long time before I could see this with my heart. What could be better or happier than a comfortable, mundane life with Jesus? Jesus’ post-Resurrection life may have been glorious, but it was still so strange and foreign to everything I thought I knew and loved.
But when I finally did come to understand, I found that it was something too deep and too beautiful to put into words.
I see my vocation to consecrated virginity as a reflection of this aspect of the Paschal Mystery.
If I did not have this vocation, I think I still would have lived a good Christian life. I imagine that I would have been a wife and a mother. I would have made a happy home for my family, and I would have tasted all the highest, best, and most lasting joys this created world has to offer.
But God called me to live in this world as though I was already a citizen of the next. Being called to stake all my hope in Heaven has been slowly teaching me to “walk by faith, and not by sight.” (Which, to be perfectly honest, can be really hard at times.)
Yet in forsaking marriage, I found that I truly could glimpse “the love for which it is a sign.”* In letting the risen Christ lead me to places I didn’t understand, I found that in Him there is a life deeper than life itself.
* from the Rite of Consecration