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Because God Is Good and He’s in a Rush
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God granted me the wonderful gift of my vocation because he is good and he let me know that he is in a rush because there are many souls to save and draw closer to his heart.

Celine Cochin
Céline is currently a youth director at the Le Chatelard Academy in Switzerland.

I am the youngest in a family of seven children. I always felt very loved within my family and this helped me in my relationship with God as I learned to let myself be loved by him.

I enjoy saying that I am from a town lost in the northeast of France, in Anjou, called Chazé-Henry, where there is nothing very special but I lived there very happily nonetheless. My family was blessed with a very simple and authentic faith, where charity and a good sense of humor were commonplace. My parents taught me how to pray when I was very young. I got into the habit of falling asleep amidst books of the saints and writings of the Holy Father. At first I wanted to be a Carmelite like Saint Therese of Lisieux but later the idea of being a missionary in China seemed to be more attractive.

Outside of my family, especially at school, I knew that I unfortunately could not put much faith in what people would say or teach about the faith. My parents were the only reliable sources around and I trusted them 100% and I went to them with all my doubts and questions.

I felt God’s call when I was seventeen. It was during the closing Mass of a Catholic congress in Paris that my older brother and his wife had invited me to. It was a simple moment, which didn’t surprise me too much being that my upbringing had prepared the seed of my vocation.

On the way home I closed my eyes and tried to meditate on the meaning of that calling. When I got home I made Christ a promise: I will give my life for you. And to make sure that it wouldn’t be just a passing moment I wrote it in a notebook and signed my name to it, but it remained a secret between him and me. My life continued as normal and happy as ever as I knew that God would show me the how, when and where later ...

Months went by and the moment of choosing a career arrived. To my great surprise most of my friends were choosing things that they really didn’t want to do for the rest of their lives. But my plans were set: I would go to Paris, study philosophy and learn more about what Saint Thomas Aquinas taught so as to draw closer to God and strengthen my faith.

At the university I found two worlds which were both very new to me: Saint Thomas, with his doctrine so clear and so profound, and the divisions within the Church. In fact, there was so much criticism that I never suspected that it hurt me. At the same time I experienced a great longing to work to help unify the Church.

I soon discovered that two of my classmates were members of Regnum Christi. When I first met them I was immediately drawn to their joy and enthusiam but especially their universal charity and their apostolic zeal. I wanted to be a Catholic like they were. But at the same time I didn’t want to get involved with any particular Movement so as to remain “universal”.

We became good friends. Through her, I found how I wanted to live my faith. I had always understood that all Christians are called to be saints but his letters taught me that not only are we called to be saints but we are called to be apostles as well. God helped me to understand that to be a part of the “universal” Church I needed to commit myself to loving
Céline Cochin
"God granted me the wonderful gift of my vocation because he is good and he let me know that he is in a rush because there are many souls to save and draw closer to his heart."
and building that same Church.

The next day I went up to my friend and told her straight off that I wanted to join Regnum Christi and for her to tell me what I needed to do so as to join as soon as possible. And that’s what I did.

Being a member of Regnum Christi helped me to frequent the sacraments more assiduously, especially confession and the Eucharist, knowing that Jesus was always there waiting for me to visit him. He soon became my best friend. We weren’t a large group of members, since the Movement was just beginning in France. In facgt, we hardly knew anything about the Movement, but still we were very enthusiastic. We were convinced that we would transform the world for Christ.

In my last year of college, one of my friends consecrated himself to God in Regnum Christi and another friend became a coworker to work for the Church in the Movement. I studied at the University of Paris for one more year planning to be a coworker once I finished my degree.

While I was at the Sorbonne God opened my eyes to the real world, its needs and the urgency of the mission. I came across many good people but their lives were not very attractive because they didn’t seem very happy. Studying philosophy one encounters all sorts of people; some sincerely search for meaning in their lives and there are others who do the opposite. I also encountered many homosexuals and also a lot of pressure to accept it as something natural. One student committed suicide and many others didn’t know what they were living for since they didn’t know what happiness was ... In all of them one thing was apparent-they didn’t know our Lord. How could I just sit there while there was so much suffering in the world? Couldn’t I do anything for them?

Having finished my studies I decided to become a coworker. While I was at the introductory course in Rome I recalled the promise I had made to God years before and I began to be afraid. So I tried justifying myself, “God made us free, so I could say no if I wanted to.” It was a very strong temptation. I suddenly wanted to turn my back on God believing that he could no longer make me truly happy; he could sort of make me happy but not enough for me to give him my life.

The course was coming to an end and I still didn’t know what to do so I figured the best thing to do was just to leave without saying anything to anyone and just disappear and be forgotten, but in the end I didn’t think God would want that being that we were friends. So he arranged things so that I would miss my plane. I looked for other flights and there weren’t any that day nor over the next few days. Nobody from my family was home at the time so I decided to spend another week in Rome trying to calm down. Shortly thereafter I decided to say “yes” to God but only for one year.

I was sent to Paris for my coworker year. It was exciting to see how God was working through the Movement in my country. Little by little I opened myself to God’s grace and he began conquering my heart with his love, respecting my freedom and at the same time showing me how much of a rush he was in. Two months later once again I experienced the desire to consecrate myself to God. I had fallen in love with him and I was happy. I said yes.

My parents didn’t know anything about the Legionaries of Christ or the Movement but they supported me unconditionally anyway because they saw that it was all about God’s work, that we were faithful to the Holy Father and that there was a true spirit of charity amongst us. Their generous support, their prayers and sacrifices are such a great help for me to persevere each day. Even though it was hard for him to say it, my father told me that I had chosen the best part.

God granted me the wonderful gift of my vocation because he is good and he let me know that he is in a rush because there are many souls to save and draw closer to his heart.

Céline Cochin was born in Anjou in the northeast of France. She obtained a doctorate in philosophy at the University of Sorbonne in Paris. She also studied classical humanities and theology at the Center of International Educators in Madrid, Spain, and also taught philosophy classes there as well. She currently is a youth director at the Le Châtelard Academy in Switzerland.

(August 25, 2003)


PUBLICATION DATE: 2003-08-25


 

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Official web site of the Vatican.
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