On Saturday, July 20, 2013. at the Monastery of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel in Morristown, NJ, there was an extraordinary occurrence. One of our parishioners, Postulant Marysia Czaplinski, during a special Mass concelebrated by Father Pius – Chaplain of the Carmel and Father Augustino of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal with Deacon Rich Pinto assisting, received her holy habit as a Carmelite nun. She was clothed in her holy habit including the brown scapular and received the name of Sister Ishah Ahot of Jesus — meaning woman and sister.
In connection with this exceptional event, I would like to briefly examine the mystery of God’s work with regard to vocation and, in particular, life in a cloister. "I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit . ." (J 15:16) I am sure many of you have contemplated and questioned the decision made by Marysia.
Why a young woman would abandon this world and embark on a life of contemplation in a cloister order. Simply said: they close themselves off by brick walls behind gates! The first impression is one of horror. Of course in these times, the modern world offers so many paths; there are many interesting educational possibilities. We can travel abroad, earn money, visit exciting places, follow career paths and success. However, when we listen to the reasoning of those called by Jesus, it seems, that they have a moment -, when they stop and ask themselves, where is this all going?
The answer of those endowed with contemplative vocation may surprise us, it may be a decision we do not understand, but for them it is the only possible life: to be the closest possible to their Dearest Lord. And at that moment, all else loses its importance, how much money you can earn, how many wonders of the world there are to see. Because, all of these things, when compared to the love and call from God, seem unimportant and lack relevance.
The life of a contemplative nun is their pursuit of imitating Christ praying on the mountain – where He had a private conversation with his Father. This "meeting with God" summarizes the life of a nun. Her prayers, work, and ordinary daily tasks are all dedicated to God. The Church always needed and will need this type of devotion. Maybe in these times, more than any other, it is a visible sign, that "man does not live by bread alone" (Mt 4:4). Dedicating oneself to God in a contemplative order is in no way a wasted life — as would be not answering God, who always desires our love? Following the path of Christ, that is the path of the Gospel, will bring great honor and grace to Marysia Czaplinski -Sr. Ishah Ahot of Jesus.
We thank God for her wonderful parents John and Alicja Czaplinski, who in the spirit of faith created a home, in which this exceptional vocation developed. As the parish community of St. Stanislaus Kostka in Greenpoint, we support You with our prayers and also Your daughter who is loved by Christ in a very special way.
"Do not look at the life, which flows on the outside, because a spiritual life is better." (St. Francis of Assisi)
Fr. Jaroslaw Lawrenz, C.M.