After nearly nine years of my watching and appreciating the IVE Order function at St Peter and Paul Church, I knew they pursued holiness and were joy filled. Although it is obvious that I could not be a Minor Seminarian or a Brother or Priest of the IVE, and it is unlikely that I could be a Sister Servant of the Lord and the Virgin of Matara, I still wanted in – I wanted somehow to be a part of this family.
Joining the Third Order has allowed me to have another family – a spiritual family. In just this first week I have already noticed that my prayers for the IVE priests and sisters and seminarians have changed – they are more personal, intimate and meaningful. They have taken on the intensity of my prayers for my personal family.
Recently, someone asked how I was prepared to take on the commitment of the Third Order. My response was that I look at my new family as them helping me, guiding me, encouraging me, teaching me, loving me. The more that they can help me grow in holiness, the more I can be a support to them in any number of ways. The commitments that I have with the Third Order are nothing more than the commitments we all have as practicing Catholics.
The beauty of the Third Order is knowing that I am not alone in my personal struggle to be a better Catholic. Every day provides opportunities for me to make mistakes and disappoint the Lord, whom I love. I need help. I need a family to back me up, pull me up, and to face me forward again when I fall. I cannot do this alone.
About thirty years ago, I made a commitment to follow Jesus with all that I had by inviting him into my heart (He was in my head, but not in my heart). I fell totally in love with the Lord and I have received an abundance of graces over the years. Father has recently told me that when you make a commitment to the Lord, the Lord will provide the grace you need to carry it out. That is why I did not hesitate to join the Third Order. I joined because I love the Lord and am making a further commitment to Him. He will, of course, provide any graces that I need in order to carry out my small role in the IVE Third Order.
Come and join me and enlarge the family. I need you also.
June 14, 2020 Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ