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Schoenstatt
Apostolic Movement

Consecrated life has to do with saying YES in our everyday life

By: Carminho Sarmento / Portugal

All of us, at some point in our lives, seriously ask ourselves what does God have to do with our lives? After all, what do we believe in? Where do I see God?

It happened to me sometime around Confirmation. After Confirmation, I began to seriously try to understand God in my life and what I had to do with him.

God then started “engaging” with me and the result was a tremendous enthusiasm that I felt as I realized that He, who is so great and infinite, cared about me as if I were the only person in the world! And in response, I wanted to do everything for Him. I wanted to change the world.

Giving myself FOR God

I began in my parish, where I volunteered as a catechist and choir member. Then I joined a Catholic association that did volunteer work in Portugal and Africa. When I dated, I was concerned that it had to be based on God. The more I discovered God in me, the more I realized that I had a lot to learn and grow and that I could reach God not only by doing many things and getting involved in numerous activities. Therefore, I wanted to find a group that would help me not only to form myself but also to grow in faith.

I discovered Schoenstatt when I was already in university. I discovered a Family that welcomed me and made me feel as if I had always been part of it; I discovered a place where I really felt at home and close to heaven, the Shrine; I discovered a strong and original spirituality, with new concepts that helped me give concrete form to my faith and live it in my daily life: “capital of grace“, “practical faith“, “Covenant of Love“, “Founding Father“, “New Man in the New Community” ….. Above all, I discovered the Blessed Mother, who had always been present in my life, but who now revealed herself as a Mother who accompanied me daily and educated me!

Within this enthusiastic and passionate atmosphere, I also began to discover my vocation.

How does one discover a vocation?

In that moment during our life when we ask ourselves about God, if we pay attention to His answer, we discover what He wants from us. But our focus on Him must be constant. The initial awareness has to turn into a consistent eagerness to listen to and perceive God. In this process we are captivated by Him and a greater Love grows in us.

If we continue to pay attention to Him, He will use all means to help us discover His will for our life (=vocation). He will use the circumstances of our life to speak to us through concrete signs, but He will also use our heart, our desires, and longings. And if we look into the depths of our soul, into our most secret and deepest desires, we will realize that this is where our vocation lies, this is where God speaks to us, where no one but us can hear.

Surrendering to God

God conquered me through a long process full of ups and downs, but He led me in such a way that I would belong to Him alone, because that was His will!

After sealing the Covenant of Love, Our Lady “introduced” me to her Son Jesus. As I got to know Him better, I fell in love with Him. I wanted to spend a lot of time with him, I wanted to tell him a lot about myself, and I wanted him to tell me about himself. His love enkindled my heart and I felt happy and fulfilled just being in his presence. I began to question the married life I had always dreamed of having and the many children I wanted to raise, because I was discovering a new reality which was stronger in my life. Then I realized that Jesus was inviting me to be only His, that He was calling me to give myself to a life consecrated to Him and to His Mother in the Schoenstatt Family.

Today I belong to the Institute of Our Lady of Schoenstatt (“Ladies of Schoenstatt”), where I have made my journey of consecrated life. Recently I had my perpetual consecration.

I am always discovering that vocation has to do with a daily and consistent YES that we give to God, as a response to his presence full of Love in our lives.

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