By: Krysti Patient
Starting this month, Krysti has entered into a Missionary Year through Women Youth Apostles. She leaves behind a full-time job and salary for a dedicated time of service to the Women Youth Apostles community and the young people at All Saints Catholic Church in Manassas, VA.
On Friday, August 18th, I said goodbye to the glass conference rooms and up-to-date technologies of my non-profit job, and most challengingly, to my coworkers. I also said goodbye to small, seemingly insignificant things like my work ID… that was actually pretty hard.
This small chapter of my life came to a close in what felt like the quickest two weeks of my adult existence. This was my first full-time salaried job after graduating college in 2013 and being a waitress for two years. I was so proud of my cubicle, of my keys, my parking pass, my borrowed work-issued laptop, my annual work trip to Chicago. It felt like I had some time yet to outgrow them but then, when has my time ever been the Lord’s time?
It came as no real surprise, then (especially given the Lord’s tendency toward a pretty healthy sense of humor) that he had much to say to me in the weeks approaching the big transition, in living out the first wave of my “Yes” regarding poverty and humility. So much of my prayer surrounding the daily Mass readings for the past few weeks has been an affirmation from God that what He wants most from me through this year of service is my poverty of spirit. A poverty that “costs everything that is not the Kingdom of Heaven” (The Pearl, Servant of God Madeleine Delbrel). I have been taking note of the Lord strengthening my commitment to Him and calling me out of all of my cubicle-shaped comfort zones.
One particular reflection I had came from a Eucharistic Holy Hour in July, spent meditating on that day’s First Reading from Exodus. The Lord “summoned Moses to the top of the mountain” (Exodus 19:1-2, 9-11, 16-20b). When God summons Moses, He does so after Moses brings the people to the foot of the mountain, where there is fire, trembling earth and smoke. I immediately think, “Sounds like a volcano. They should get out of there.” In all seriousness, this somewhat sarcastic humor of mine echoed a real false warning, a worldly fear that I had in approaching God’s holy mountain – the mountain for me being this Missionary Year ahead.
All “signs” pointed to turning tail. I had a good job, a great work-life balance with ample time to devote to volunteering in ministry and partaking in community life, with some steady comfortable income. It was certainly easy to reflect the spirit of fear that Scripture describes of the Israelites in the midst of my decision. In my prayer, however, I had my version of the events of this passage in Exodus, where I was someone in this crowd of people, with Moses right beside me. As Scripture tells, Moses speaks to God, and the Lord answers in thunder. Moses seems to know what God is saying to him, but all I can hear this noise and feel this trepidation. My fear itself is a language barrier preventing me from understanding the Lord. Eventually, Moses is summoned to ascend the mountain and approach the Lord. But, Moses tells me, so am I.
Luckily, I have a few people in my life who are an example of Moses to me, who understand the thunder perhaps a little more, and a little more often, than I. By their encouragement and their own closeness to God, I am invited upward to seek Him and know Him more intimately, and I do not journey alone.
In light of this somewhat daunting (though wonderful) invitation, I have been searching more and more for courage, hoping that I can stockpile it for the climbs ahead. But I have found in my searching that a very important prerequisite to courage is love and humility. This is the real work ahead, but it is also what motivates me to give my “Yes” in the first place. My good Jesus doesn’t ask much, but rather, like Peter, He asks only “Do you love me?” I know and He knows my real love for Him, my sisters, and His young people. My “Yes”, my choosing to accept this Mission, is a simple yet confident, sure answer to that question. It is my way of saying “summon me, O God, to your holy mountain.”
We shall see what the Lord longs to reveal to me there.
Please pray for me and for the young people at All Saints in this year of ministry ahead.