Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Shield of Hope

This is the Shield of Hope.

It has a Story and Symbolism.

Story Teaser (see below for the end):

Yesterday I set a goal for myself. But sometimes goals can be difficult to accomplish...did I make it? Read on to find out!

The Shield's Symbolism:

The Cross at the center represents the Dominican Order, to which I am an aspirant. My vocation is a great source of hope to me. Every time I listen to one of the Friars Preachers giving a homily or lecture, or to Word to Life, they help me unlock the mystery of God's Love. I am not perfect, but I am not one of the Perfectae, either! Praise be to God, I have been spared from heresy, only by grace.

The Raven with Bread in the bottom left quadrant represents the Benedictine Order, to which I will always be deeply indebted. I spent my childhood near a Benedictine Monastery and Highschool, which I later attended, and obtained my Bachelor's degree in Theology from a Benedictine College as well. So the Benedictine way of life and spirituality has shaped my life thus far, in ways that I am still discovering. And the monks that I have known have been a great source of inspiration, encouragement, and hope for me in my daily life.

The Lily in the bottom right quadrant represents purity. After the virtues of Love, Faith, Hope, and Humility, Purity is the virtue I most prize and strive to practice in my life. Jesus says in the beatitudes, "Blessed are the Pure of Heart, for they shall see God." And isn't this what we all hope for, above all else? To see God!

The Sun and Cloud at the top left quadrant represents Christ Our Light (Thanks be to God!) who shines through-nay, shines over-our clouds of darkness and despair if only we have the eyes to see. As Saint Paul says, nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus! (Romans 8:35-39)

And what about the blank top right quadrant? It is not empty. It is filled with God's Providence. Lord, I am here, I exist only to do Your will. All I ask for are Your Love and Your Grace that I may always echo Your Blessed Mother's "Fiat! May it be done to me according to Thy Word!" (Luke 1:38)

With this shield, I will continue in the battle for the King of Kings: for Love, in Hope.

*  *  *  *  *
The Story:

Yesterday I set a *very important* goal for myself: I had had enough of my pathetic habit of waiting around, and was determined to speak to a friend about a very important but delicate question concerning my application to the convent. By dinnertime, I had not yet seen her, nor called her on the phone. My mother suggested that I email my friend with the question...To my joy, however, I did end up seeing her soon afterward. To my dismay, I never had a chance to ask her, since there were too many people around, and there was never a convenient break in the conversation.

So, frustrated with myself and a little bit worn out, I left her presence practically in tears. It was a Love War battle. Upon arriving home, I found that I was providentially home alone. I love my family dearly, but sometimes I just need space. Alone, I was able to vent my frustration and fatigue in a relatively peaceful manner. Instead of bursting out angrily at myself as I so often have in the past, I managed to sing the tension away with some of my favorite hymns and antiphons, especially the ones I learned from the Benedictines at college. And I emptied the dishwasher, before heading downstairs to say Vespers, all of which made me feel better, too. After Vespers, I finally emailed my friend with the question, as my mother had suggested. A sad and sorry last resort it was, but it was better than nothing, and I did achieve my goal, more or less.

And then I designed Hope's Coat of Arms. Yes, that meant I was on the computer in the evening far later than I ever should be, but sometimes I guess I just have to fight one battle at a time, no? And Providentially, there is always tomorrow to start over and try again, no?

Praise be to God for Hope, and for the successful conclusion to another Love War Battle!

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