But, of course, religious life is about so much more than simply giving up, and the priest proceeded to remind his congregation that it is, particularly, about giving. Not giving up, he said, but giving. Giving yourself the freedom to pray, to love to, serve...
But in fact, that is very much what we do: through whatever we may give to God, we also give to ourselves this wonderful gift of freedom, of growth and depth in prayer, and in love, poured out in service.
Tomorrow I travel to Rome, where, on Sunday, twelve young RSCJ - including one who lived with me in Oxford for nearly two years - will make their perpetual vows. They will bind themselves forever, to God in the Society... and hopefully know that in so doing, they have given themselves the most tremendous gift of freedom, to become women of prayer and love lavishly poured out.
Please join me in praying for them, and for all those God is calling to this tremendous and extraordinary gift of a life.