The following is Lillian's Advent Vesper reflection for the Sisters in Dominican Convent.
My beloved Sisters,
It is an honor to celebrate Advent and share my personal reflection with you today on the reading from James 5:7-10. I am overwhelmed with feelings of warmth and love as I read through each verse of this reading.
The Lord has provided me with many blessings. My mother and father are alive today. I have a roof over my head. I have teachers, spiritual mentors, and friends with whom I can confide. I attend a wonderful school that has helped me grow in my faith, overcome challenges, and in turn, has left an indelible mark on me.
This week I received a rejection letter from a university that was my top choice. However, if I got accepted, I would be in a binding contract. My father’s five words as he signed the binding contract were, “You are signing your life away.” When I sat down at school and had a conversation with my wonderful theology teacher about the financial stress I would have if I got accepted into this institution, she told me, “If God wants you to walk through the doors of that university, you will be there. If not, God has a different plan for you. Trust Him.”
When I first found out that I was a deferred admission, I was not upset about being rejected, but I was so upset with myself. I believed all the hard work I had put into my academics and extracurricular activities meant nothing. I took the rigorous courses like I was supposed to. I dedicated myself to getting decent test scores. I took part in as many activities as I could and after all these efforts, a rejection letter.
I realize now, that even if I got into the school that rejected me, I would not have been satisfied. I am learning something more valuable now. I have two options: I can reflect, criticize myself, and try to pick up the pieces where I thought I went wrong, or I can surrender everything, ask God for mercy, kneel at the cross, and listen to him. I choose the second option.
This season of Advent reminds me to wait for the coming of my Savior. This Advent season motivates me to straighten out the parts of myself that hinder my relationship with the Lord. Jesus walks with me through everything. He is in my heart, my teardrops, my bedside, my school, with you and with me now.
The verse in this reading, “See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it” fascinates me. God is the farmer; we are the seeds waiting to grow into precious fruit. Jesus is our water who makes us grow into a fruitful vine. When we focus only on our iniquities, our difficult circumstances, or what we have not yet done, this will only leave our seed thirsty.
As I grow, I am learning to surrender everything. I pray for obedience daily. I hold Jesus’ hand and ask him to give me the wisdom and the guidance to trust Him, even when I feel rejected. God will quench my thirst.
God Bless you.
Lillian Mercado is a senior at Albertus Magnus High School. She is a Eucharistic Minister and a member of the AM Preaching Team. Lillian is a member of the National Honor Society and a contributor to the school’s literary publication The Albert. Lillian sings in the Veritas choir and serves as a peer tutor as well as a mentor to the First Year students.