October 15, 2010

Conference participants encouraged to know, live and preach the faith in their lives

By Mary Ann Wyand

Women must know the faith, live the faith and preach the faith, Dominican Sister Mary Assumpta Long told “Treasuring Womanhood” conference participants on Sept. 18, in order to set the world on fire with love for God.

Sister Mary Assumpta, the prioress general of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, in Ann Arbor, Mich., presented two keynote addresses during the seventh annual Indiana Catholic Women’s Conference at Cathedral High School in Indianapolis.

The goal of spirituality is union with God, she said, and authentic spirituality must be based on the teachings of the Church.

A nationally acclaimed speaker at Catholic conferences, Sister Mary Assumpta said she is committed to promoting the reclamation of a truly Catholic culture through religious education, and by igniting one soul at a time with love for Jesus and his Church.

“Every single person is called to holiness, to a unique holiness,” she said. “Where is God calling you? What do you have to contribute … to make the world a little better because you lived here during this age in history? … It’s exciting and wonderful how God’s grace is working in each individual.”

People approach the mystery of God in many different ways, Sister Mary Assumpta said, but Catholic spirituality must start with the truths of the faith—the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit as well as the Cross of Christ.

The Holy Trinity and Calvary are at the epicenter of authentic spirituality, she said, and the will of God—the Cross—is with us every day until we die.

Part of God’s will for your life is carrying your unique crosses, she said, but his grace is sufficient to help you cope with those physical, mental, emotional or spiritual burdens.

“I think God calls people to carry the Cross to help with the salvation of souls,” Sister Mary Assumpta said. “It might be for your children, it might be for yourself, … to take up [your] cross and carry it. But it only gets heavier when it is dragged.”

Remember that the Cross is a precious gift from God, she said, and although your personal cross can become very heavy at times, it will get lighter if you embrace it.

“Always look for the Cross,” Sister Mary Assumpta said. “It’s a sign that God is very near.”

When you make the sign of the cross, she said, you are strengthening your belief in the Trinity and your belief in Christ.

“If your spirituality is authentic, the Eucharist will always be present,” she said. “The Eucharist is the source and the summit of the Christian life. … You receive the Body and Blood, the Soul and Divinity, of Christ in the Eucharist.”

Catholics must love the Church, which was founded by Christ, Sister Mary Assumpta said, and should turn to God and Mary for spiritual strength.

“Authentic spirituality has to include both truth and love,” she said. “… Everyone knows and loves God in a slightly different way. God has put into your nature, your heart and your mind a unique way to love him.”

Ask God in prayer how he wants you to become holy, Sister Mary Assumpta said, then examine your life and your role in the Church.

Seek spiritual inspiration from the lives of the saints, she emphasized, especially from the examples of Mary, the mother of God, and the other women saints.

“No matter how small our gift is to God, he can make it so beautiful,” Sister Mary Assumpta said. “… You have something precious to offer to God.”

We’re all children before God, who extends the call of holiness to every person, she said, and we must become holy because it’s the only way to change our culture for the better. †

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