Giving My Whole Heart to God

Reflection by Sister Carolyn Anyega

When our Foundress set off to the United States of America in 1847, she addressed her sisters:

Let us never tolerate anything in our hearts that is not of God. Let us give our whole heart to God; it does belong to God.
Blessed Theresa of Jesus Gerhardinger #714

Sisters in Makeni Community
Sister Carolyn Anyega, currently serving on the General Council 2018- 2024

As I reflect on the meaning and experience of giving my whole heart to God, I find myself going back to my infancy, baptism and profession of vows. My infancy was difficult bedecked with ill health. I struggled to get my family consent for baptism and entry into religious life.

Right from my catechumenate stage, my father was afraid that baptism was a step forward to religious life. He prevented his younger sister’s entry to religious life, so much more did he want to prevent his own daughter from entering. He was a man of integrity: what is good for one is good for all. It was not until the day of my first profession, when my father, after denial for seventeen years, gave his full support. I was deeply touched that God had a purpose for me, having made it possible for me to pursue my heart’s desire.

The catechist taught us that God created us: to know, love, serve and finally live with Him in heaven, and that the saints were the examples. I am often fascinated with stories of saints. I was taught to pray the rosary always and to give my life to God like Mary, renouncing self-reliance and self-exaltation. It is no wonder I joyfully accepted God’s invitation to give my whole heart to Him. I professed my vows convinced that God wanted me to give Him everything I would have to offer.

I have had many opportunities of self-gift to God and of bearing witness to the joy of loving, the greatness and dignity of every human person, the value of little things done faithfully and lovingly, and the surpassing worth of friendship with God. When I am distracted, I forget the whole point of my human existence. My heart accepts compromises and mediocrity. I miss the experience of the fullness of God’s love when my choices are less than love of God and neighbour.

Situations of disease, hunger, poverty, violence, and climate change break my heart and make it seem impossible to be whole-hearted. However, it is precisely at these times that I have heard God’s call and desire to act. Jesus’ world reality was no different from ours.

Therefore, let us give our whole heart to God; it does belong to Him. In all circumstances, may God “grant us to desire God with our whole heart; that, so desiring, we may seek and find Him; and so finding Him, may love Him.” (St. Anselm 1033-1109).

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