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Turn to Jesus (Article)

Decisions Made Easy
Mary Houser tells the story of how she embraced her vocation to the consecrated life in Regnum Christi.

Mary Hauser
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.
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. 

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.” 

“Ha-ha. 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 nun!”

Why not?        

“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. 

Until, 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.”

There was 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 my house.

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 Kingdom.”

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. 

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.



Related links

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

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