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Turn to Jesus (Article)

God´s Bells
This is the story of my vocation: ordinary events made extraordinary because God, ever-present, continuously manifests his love and design.

Luly Clariond
Luly currently works in the formation of adolescents in Rome.
Few things in life are as difficult as sharing the history of one´s own vocation. Maybe it is because a vocation is made up of numerous events that are really quite normal and ordinary -- a conversation, a visit to our Lord in the chapel, an admirable example from someone you look up to – become extraordinary because, through them, God calls. They are God´s bells.

This is the story of my vocation: ordinary events made extraordinary because God, ever-present, continuously manifests his love and design. An everyday life, yet through God´s invitation, begins a transformation until it is completely his.

I was born into a wonderful family, the third of five children. My family´s first contact with Regnum Christi was before I was born when my folks were looking for a good school for my older brothers. They came upon the Irish Institute which is directed by the Legionaries of Christ and decided to enroll my brothers there. I don´t think they ever imagined the adventure that they were getting themselves into.

Since I was three years old I went to the CECVAC school. There the "consagradas" (that is what we called the consecrated women of Regnum Christi) became a staple within my life, and even though I truly admired and loved them, I never seriously thought that I could ever be like them. I thought about it occasionally but they were only like little bells, nothing lasting.

The first time I remember ever considering it was when I was ten years old. I told my mom about it and she told me that it was normal for girls to think about being nuns, that she had thought about it as well, but that later she forgot about it and was now happily married. That took care of the first bell and the chapter ended just as I had hoped.

At eleven years of age I joined ECYD (Education, Culture and Youth Development) and there I learned what the two greatest motivations of my life would be: our Lord Jesus Christ, my faithful and best friend, and the passionate mission which he was calling me to undertake: Help the Church to save souls. And all this took place within a very fun environment because the ECYD´s formation activities and apostolic projects included my thirty closest friends. It was an "ideal adolescence".

A year later some life-changing news reached home: my older brother, Benjamin, after a successful start in an engineering position, decided to leave everything and enter the Legionaries of Christ. It was definitely an unexpected shock and everyone really missed having him at home with us. But I think I was the one who suffered the least, not because I didn´t miss him, but because I understood how happy he would be if he lived only for God.

While my brother was at the Candidacy, a period of discernment before entering the Legion, I heard the second little bell. One night, while we were having dinner, my father told us that we shouldn´t consider making a decision like Benjamin´s until we had achieved a professional degree. Right then and there I thought: "So it´s eleven years until I consecrate myself!" This thought even surprised me.

A few days later we went to visit my brother, who wanted to chat with each one of us, alone. When it was my turn I told him about my little dilemma: "Dad just told us that we shouldn´t consider making a decision like yours until we had achieved a professional degree, which means it´s eleven years until I consecrate myself!" My brother was stunned. He immediately asked me: "You think you have a vocation?" And the only thing I said was a simple "yes". Just as we were walking past an image of the Blessed Mother, we stopped in front of her and my brother said: "Let´s make a deal. Every night from now on, we are going to pray three Hail Mary´s: one for the Holy Father´s intentions, one for my fidelity to my vocation to the priesthood and one for your fidelity to yours". Eleven years have gone by and we are still keeping our promise.

There was a minor detail though; a few months after we made this deal I slightly changed one of the intentions. I met a young man who soon afterwards became my boyfriend. Therefore, my third Hail Mary was for my fidelity to my vocation to marriage. The four years that followed the bells never rang.

When I was fifteen years old I went to a school in Switzerland and a few months after I got back to Monterrey, my boyfriend told me that he had decided to be a Co-worker with the Movement starting that summer. That was another unexpected news flash but it also made me think: "Couldn´t I do the same?"

A few days later I made my decision, received my parents´ permission and truly began to prepare myself to finally give of myself. I looked forward to the opportunity to fill my life with God, the apostolate, etc.

The following summer I left home for the preparatory course for all the girls who had decided to give years of service to the Church in the Co-worker program. During the third week we had a silent retreat. That was the first time in months that I had some real silence in my life: music, the telephone, movies ... had never left me enough space to give God some real silence where I could listen to God.

The second day of the retreat, the priest who was preaching spoke to us about our reality as creatures and how God had created us out of love for a very particular mission to give him glory and to fulfill his will. I had heard this truth many times before but at once it seriously hit home. After that meditation I went to the chapel and before our Lord in the Eucharist, without really knowing how or why I wrote: "Lord, if you want, you know that I would leave everything to be yours." This was the third bell, the third and final call. I recall spending about half an hour there asking our Lord: "Are you serious? Is this really what you want?"

By now this wasn´t a bell, it was a symphony ... I knew what God was asking of me. I told my spiritual director and the next day I left for the candidacy. The most difficult part was informing my parents, my boyfriend and my friends.

For my parents, accepting this decision was difficult at first, but afterwards, having contemplated it through the eyes of faith, they saw that this was the path that God had chosen for me, and that I would only be truly happy following him. They have supported me 100%, as they always had before, ever since.

As I look back, I see that I have so many people to thank, especially our Lord, who was always so patient with me and continues, even today, to play a symphony for me.

María de Lourdes Clariond Domene was born in Monterrey, México, 26 June 1978. She has completed studies in humanities, philosophy and theology in the International Centre of Educational Sciences of Rome. She worked a number of years in the General Secretariat of the Regnum Christi Movement in Rome and currently works in the formation of adolescents in the same city.

(April 24, 2003)



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Official web site of the Vatican.
Legionaries of Christ
For Your Vocation
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