June 6, 2011
Silvia Maria Tarafa, SCTJM
For private use only -©
Years ago, while leading a Bible study for college students, we were looking at Ephesians Chapter 5. When we read, “Wives be subject to your husbands,” a group of the women were angry; they found the idea of being subject to their husbands repulsive.
These days it is rare to find anyone willing to submit. We all want to be independent, self-sufficient, without anyone telling us what to do. And yet this is precisely God’s call for both the vocation of marriage and for consecrated life.
During the challenging Bible study, I tried to explain that Ephesians Chapter 5 calls for mutual subjection. The man and the woman are both called to submit. Scripture says, “Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ’’ (Ephesians 5: 21). Yet the Lord asks the man to do even more; he must submit and he must die for his spouse as Christ died for his Bride, the Church, and gave himself up for her, to sanctify her, cleanse her and present her to himself in splendor. (Ephesians 5-25-28). The Bridegroom is called to die that he might beautify His Bride.
Women called to the vocation of marriage should be attentive to choosing a husband who strives to live out his God-given sublime mission to give himself up for her, to sanctify her by his self-offering. For religious women, however, we do not hope for our Bridegroom to be faithful to his mission. Jesus, our Bridegroom, has already made of his life a complete self-offering and oblation for his Bride. It is now up to us to live out our call in response to so generous a gift. We must strive to cooperate with his grace, to trust, to surrender and to allow ourselves to be cleansed and sanctified by a Spouse who has loved us to the extreme of having been crucified — to beautify us. If we are not more cleansed, transformed, and splendorous, it is not due to our beloved Bridegroom’s lacking, it is due to our own lack of submission to his saving and transforming will in his plan for our salvation and sanctification.
Lord, we pray that those women you choose as religious would be willing to respond to your call to entrust ourselves to You, to be willing to submit ourselves to You in everything, as faithful brides to an eternally faithful, self-oblative Bridegroom. May we religious brides be subject to our Bridegroom so as to give him total freedom to work out his plan of presenting us to himself — without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, that we might be holy and without blemish. Living out this call is not just for ourselves, but for a world in need of seeing the transforming beauty that results in those hearts that, like our Blessed Mother, submit their lives to Christ for love, willing to say, like her, in everything: “Let it be done to me according to Thy Word.”
This page is the work of the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and