June 3, 2009. Greenville, RI. Growing up, my worst enemies
were decisions. Even today I’m still always last in line
at the ice-cream window because it takes me so long
to decide whether to choose chocolate or strawberry. Small wonder
then that whenever I thought about what I wanted to
do with my life when I grew up, I never
got beyond a big question mark.
|Mary Houser is in her third year of formation and is studying for a B.A. in religious and pastoral studies at Mater Ecclesiae College.|
There was only one
thing I was certain of, thanks to dozens of romance
books and movies in high school: I was going to
go to college and meet Mr. Wonderful, who would love
and cherish me more than anyone else in the world.
Then one night an innocent comment from my brother cast
this plan into uncertainty and left me wrestling with doubt.
I was hanging around the kitchen munching on homemade chocolate
chip cookies with two of my older brothers. Michael, a
seminarian, told me casually,
“Mary, one of my friends at
the seminary thinks you’re supposed to be a nun.”
Very funny,” I said flatly, and the conversation moved on
to talk about baseball, school, or whatever else was going
on. He never guessed what a tumult he had just
set off inside of me.
As soon as I could
escape notice, I fled to my room to have a
quiet place to think. Surrounded by my Lord of the
Rings posters and St. Louis Cardinals pennants I tried to
sort through the confusion churning inside.
“I can’t be a
“Because…” I fumbled for a reason. “Because
then I won’t be able to go to college and
fall in love.”
Images from all my favorite movies flashed
through my mind, reminding me of the happiness and love
I had dreamed of; dreams that I was sure would
never be fulfilled if I went and became a nun
in a convent somewhere. So, with that settled, I put
all ideas of a vocation far from my mind.
that is, I found myself on a weeklong Holy Week
mission in a poor suburb of Atlanta a few months later,
where we went door-to-door evangelizing the poor. I thought this
mission would just be one more like the others I’d
been on: a lot of fun and a good chance
to share my faith with others. Little did I know
it would change my life forever.
On that mission I came
face to face with the reality of what Christ suffered
for me. Seeing pictures from the newly released The Passion
of the Christ opened my eyes to something I thought
I had known, but had never really known until now.
For the first time I realized just how real Christ
was and how much he loved me. What other man
would be willing to lay down his life for me?
And he was God. Here was a love more real
than any I had read of or dreamed about, and
he was offering it to me as the one love
that could fill my heart forever.
What did I do?
I had the absolute certainty that I could entrust my
entire life to a love as strong as the one
I now saw. That certainty turned what could have been
a dilemma into an easy decision, almost a “no-brainer.” Later
that night before Christ in the Eucharist, I whispered over
and over: “Yes! I give you my life.”
no regret or fear, only a deep peace that flooded
every corner of my soul with joy.
That moment was
the turning point of my life. It was the moment
of my vocation. Christ called, I said, “Yes!” Through the
next two years it was just a matter of figuring
out where and how he wanted me to live out
that yes. At first I considered joining a convent near
I was still uncertain when I went with
my family to visit my brother at the high school
seminary where he was enrolled with the Legionaries of Christ,
an order I had known since my childhood. In Mass,
I felt God’s tug on my heart to their spirituality
of love for Christ and the Church, a spirituality shared,
as I knew, by the Regnum Christi Movement. I decided
to look into the consecrated life in the Regnum Christi
Movement. After a year of living with the consecrated
women as a coworker, I found it to be
what I was looking for.
Despite this certainty, it still
wasn’t an easy path. I knew I would have to
leave my family, my friends, my school, and my desire
to go to college. In the ups and downs of
discernment I took my eyes off Christ at times and
began to sink in my doubts, but since Christ is
faithful he saved me every time, turning my gaze back
to him and restoring my peace.
At the end of
those two years I was sure God was calling me
to give my life to him through consecrated life in
Regnum Christi. He had placed Regnum Christi in my life
as the path through which I came to know him,
and I now knew that this was the way he
created for me to give my life to him. So
on September 3, 2006 I consecrated “my whole self and
all I possess to the love of Christ and his
Considering how indecisive I’ve always been it’s practically a miracle
that at nineteen I was able to take the step
of giving my entire life to God. But really, it
was the simplest decision of my life. I had met
Love, and I knew I could trust him in whatever
he would ask of me. With the deep joyful peace
that doing his will has given me, I am certain
that this was the best decision I ever made.
Houser is in her third year of formation and is
studying for a B.A. in religious and pastoral studies at
Mater Ecclesiae College.