Last night, before I allow my body to be embraced by the bed that I am using and close my eyes for sleep I asked God; why religious life is full of tests? Why you allow it as part of religious life’s experiences that to be considered and cherished? These questions came as I read the gospel (Mk 1:12-15) thrice and consult some reliable commentaries which granted me a suffice understanding about the gospel. There were a lot of insights that popped-up unto my mind as I involved and indulged myself with some reliable assertions, interpretations and reflections about the gospel. As I put myself in silence and reflection, only one word remained among the insights that my mind encountered and gathered, i.e. tests. What so special about the word “tests” in me as a Rogationist religious? Why it pierces my heart so deep?
One thing that I realized about the word “tests” is its significance. Without it, it is hard to appreciate my life and my identity as a Rogationist religious. We cannot deny the fact and I also admit that tests are painful, embarrassing, challenging and even discouraging, yet I just only recognized upon my reflection that it serves the real joy of all joys which my own intelligence, ideals and principles cannot provide and give. It helps me to accept, recognize and gaze upon my brokenness and my shortcomings with humility and sincerity. And, it makes me believe that tests are a providential opportunity that comes from God which serves as means for me to become a better and mature person and a better and mature Rogationist religious.
Putting myself with the experience of Christ as the Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, remained in the desert for forty days and tested by Satan; it is somehow the same as I relate His experience from my experience after I professed my vows to the Lord. After professing my temporary vows to the Lord, now, I am in the wilderness called “to be faithful or not”. The days that I face and live in my journey always grants me a test whether I will be faithful or not to be faithful on my identity as a Rogationist religious. Sometimes I prevail, sometimes I fall short. Winning and failing is not what struggling “to be faithful or not” on my Rogationist identity, it is all about how far I am considering Christ as my strength, my fortress and my shield in all tests that I am encountering in religious life. It is also about how far I am truly convinced that it is the Spirit that motivates and animates me to stand in every test that I face and to see it not as a curse, but an opportunity for my continual conversion.
Recognizing the significance of tests in my life as Rogationist religious made me realize that I am not the master of my self and of my identity as Rogationist religious for I alone cannot straighten the crooked lines in my life. God alone, only God alone can straighten it through Jesus. Now, as I am trying my best to consider tests as an opportunity, it is also good to consider it as a light to my path. For me, tests are lights that leading me towards authenticity for it shapes, molds and strengthen life darkened by disillusionment and uncertainties. So, it is good to assert that without test, I cannot struggle towards Rogationist authenticity for test alone can suffice that I am a Rogationist, tested by time humbled by adversaries in life. To paraphrase the common saying: “In our studies in theology, the lessons comes first before the exams but in life ‘especially in our religious life’ the test comes first before the lesson”.