This young postulant says 'don't be afraid' of God's calling

Ana Credit Elise Harris CNA Ana. | Elise Harris/CNA.

Many things happen during World Youth Day. Young people from all over the world travel to meet the Pope, they meet peers with whom they can share their faith, many have personal conversions and many even discover their vocations.

In fact, one of the things WYD is most known for, aside from the mass numbers it attracts, is the emphasis it places on vocations.

Not only are thousands of priests and religious present for the event, but there is even a vocations center aimed at giving exposure to religious life, and helping teens and young adults who might be thinking about a religious vocation to answer any questions they might have.

While she didn't discover her vocation at WYD, Ana, a young postulant with the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, has met several thousand youth in Krakow this week who have come for the July 26-31 event.

Since her order is the one to which Sr. Maria Faustina Kowalska's belonged, the majority of pilgrims in town for WYD have visited the Shrine of Divine Mercy as one of their stops, and Ana, a Pole, has served as translator for many of the youth who speak English or Spanish, but no Polish.

Her message to young people who might be considering a vocation to religious life is that "(God) wants the best for you. He wants love for you. His will is love, so he cannot hurt you. So don't be afraid," she told CNA July 28.

"If he's calling you just go after this voice, and no matter what he's telling you, you will not get peace if you don't say yes to him, no matter what he wants."

Ana has been a postulant with the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy for three years, and is set to enter the novitiate with the order Aug. 14.

She told CNA that she had been regular, Church-going Catholic, but never really got involved in any groups or initiatives. Her vocation, then, came as the result of "a conversion" she had that made her want "to listen to him more."

It was at that time she began thinking that "there were many ways (vocations) in the Church," and asking what God wanted from her.

Then, as she was praying on the feast of Divine Mercy, "I asked from the bottom of my heart, 'God what would you like for me to do?'" Ana said, explaining that the response she got is hard to describe, but was a simple, clear "follow me."

Eventually she decided to begin discerning with the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, a well-known order in Poland thanks to Sr. Faustina, who entered the community at a young age and is their most famous saint.

After entering the convent, Sr. Faustina received visions and messages from Christ which she inscribed in a diary. Christ asked her to tell the whole world about his message of mercy, which would prepare mankind for the end of the world.

While the saint died at the age of 33, she had already filled hundreds of pages with the words Christ spoke to her, which is now a published volume entitled "Divine Mercy in My Soul." In 2000, St. John Paul II canonized her, instituted the Feast of Divine Mercy, and helped to spread devotion to the Divine Mercy image and chaplet.

It is also thanks to Christ's revelations to Sr. Faustina that we have the image of Divine Mercy, which depicts Jesus raising one hand in blessing, and pointing to his heat with the other. Red and white rays flow from his heart, and on the bottom of the image the phrase "Jesus, I trust in you" is written.

Ana pointed to the phrase, which is now well-known throughout the world, explaining that when it came to her vocation "I just did it. And in hard moments I'm just reminding myself of this first moment when I heard it, that God wants me to follow him."

She said she feels a special "connection" with those who come to the shrine, which is the site where St. Faustina lived, died and where she is buried, in which Jesus is the center. For the youth who visit, Ana said the phrase "Jesus, I trust in you" sends the message "not to be afraid, to trust."

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"This is the thing," she said, "because nowadays there are so many things (happening) and you don't know who to trust. Some people misbehave toward you, they have hurt you…and it's hard to say 'I trust in you Jesus.'"

But when we're able to trust, it means "you know he's God, it means you believe that he wants best for you. That's how I see it," Ana said.

Pointing to the message of mercy given to the world through St. Faustina, who is one of the patrons of WYD in Krakow, Ana said the message is relatable to many people today because when reading St. Faustina's diary, "you see that she was a weak person, she couldn't do almost anything without the help of God."

However, despite her weaknesses, the saint always trusted in God and accepted "the grace that God wanted to give to her, whether it was suffering, whether it was something hard," or whether it was joy.

"She was took all of it, she was trusting, she was giving herself all to God," Ana said, adding that "that's the secret I think, and that's the message for people: whatever you have, you have sufferings, you also have talents…everything, just give it to God and he will do the best with it."

For those people who might be thinking about a religious vocation, Ana noted that with so many different communities, the possibilities seem "infinite."

In order to understand which one is right, "it's best to ask God because he knows your heart and he knows why he created you, and he knows you best," she said.

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The best thing to do is just "listen to him," she said, adding that "of course it's your decision what to do with this answer he gives you, but working with God is something great."