Reflections before First Profession: Sr. Chelsea Bethany, FSP

People keep asking me: “Are you ready to make First Vows?” I never know quite what to say. Can one ever be totally “ready” for something like this?

One day, a few weeks ago, I was asked for what seemed like the tenth time that week if I was “ready” to make Profession as a Daughter of Saint Paul. I was tired and I found myself struggling to answer this question yet again. The poor soul standing in front of me was just as shocked as I was when I said very definitively, “NO. No, I’m not ready.”

Later that day I was reflecting with Jesus on the exchange and I remember asking Jesus, “What was that? I want to make Profession with all my heart… so why did I respond to that person so strongly with that answer?” As continued to reflect on this with Jesus, I felt him say to me, “Maybe you don’t feel ready…but I do.” These words have stuck with me as I’ve lived the ebb and flow of emotion that comes with preparing to make life commitments. As the weeks have marched on and the time draws close to making my First Profession sometimes fear and doubt get the better of me, holding up my limitations and flaws, trying to overtake me with insecurity. However, it’s in these moments that I remember Jesus’ words to me: “Maybe you don’t feel ready…but I do.” And I am filled with peace. This peace comes from knowing that “The One who calls us is faithful.” (1 Thess. 5:24)

I know that while I am inconsistent and fickle, Jesus is unwavering. His love for me has never changed and it never will. I belong to a God who calls me and loves me as I am. He’s been showing me that I don’t need to feel “ready” because it is Jesus in me who makes these vows of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience. It is Jesus in me who loves my Sisters and every person I meet. It is Jesus in me who is faithful. And it is Jesus in me who is “ready.” I have no reason to be afraid.