“The only constant in the world is change.”
One of the most important realities in the world is that change is unstoppable. The environment changes, people’s lifestyles change, technology is constantly evolving and improving, climate changes mostly due to human interference, human psychology and mentality change over time and with personal growth, politics and politicians change based on national and personal interests, the education system adapts to suit the times, and medical practices are also altered in response to new diseases, often caused by humans in laboratories. However, the Lord and His love remain constant. “The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart for all generations” (Psalm 33:11). He is never absent. Jesus was faithful and obedient to His Father and the mission entrusted to Him until His death.
The starting point of my vocation was a strong desire to follow Jesus, serve people, and contribute to the well-being of all creation. Jesus revealed and exemplified God’s unconditional love throughout His life. My vocational journey began with this burning desire and a gradual conviction in prayer. However, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing; there have been challenges as well. There have been times that weighed me down or lifted me up unexpectedly, and unforeseen changes that were both burdensome and at times pleasant yet painful.
When I was sent to an unfamiliar land and entrusted with unfamiliar assignments, various questions arose within me: “Why? For what purpose? How will it be?” I kept in mind what a sister told me during my novitiate: “Wherever you are sent, Jesus is already there.” I reflected on my vows, especially during times of difficulty, remembering “I make vows of poverty, obedience, and chastity…” This reminded me of Jesus’ and Mary’s obedience to God and their unwavering trust in Him during every crucial moment of their lives, as expressed by the words, “Thy will be done.” This mindset helped me let go of my own plans, ideas, desires, expectations, loved ones, and comfort zones. Liberated by the Spirit, I was able to embrace and welcome new situations in my missionary life. The words of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, “God does not ask me to be successful but to be faithful,” always resonate within me, allowing me to find happiness in what I do and say. Although I may have nothing material to offer the people, no qualifications or expertise in any field, I find joy in contributing my limited knowledge of music and basic knowledge of English to the younger generation. Being true to who I am called to be within the community and in the mission is the greatest gift I can give. Through my simple existence, I bear witness to God’s love, enabling me to share Jesus and His Gospel of Good News with the people. Acts 3:6 states, “Peter said, ‘Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you…'” By embracing every changing moment and situation with trust and hope in God, in the spirit of humility and simplicity, I find joy and contentment as a religious in the Franciscan way of life.
My FMM vocation is not about personal success or achievements, but rather about my faithfulness in following the footsteps of Christ within the Charism and the example set by Mary and Francis. I would like to quote the words of St. Francis: “It is in giving that we receive.” Indeed, by letting go of my own preoccupations, I receive much more love, experiences, and knowledge, deepening my FMM vocation.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Sr. Joanna Zam Cing, FMM