Editor’s Note: Communications Associate, Bekah Galucki, reflects on the impact a year can have in thinking of her discernment a year ago. She openly shares from a perspective of gratitude about the movements of her heart in those few days last February that have brought much fruit.

My very first Metro card, with the assistance of a very kind stranger.

 

So much can happen when giving God control. A leap of faith starts with a step, a gentle nudge that grows to be part of so much more. 

One year ago roughly, I flew from Atlanta, GA with my suitcase packed and heart full of hope leading to my days of discernment with FMS. Not many understood what I was going for, unsure of what I meant by “discerning this year of service.” I can confidently say that I radically acted upon this call, and never ceased to strive for that radical way of faith my brother St. Francis had. That small step, that small surrender, my humble yes was the first of many steps along my pathway to the Lord. I just remember singing this hymn in my head all throughout:

Here I am, Lord. Is it I, Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night. 
I will go, Lord, if you lead me. 
I will hold Your people in my heart. 

A prayer I scribbled on my airline napkin. An act of total surrender.

I remember praying every chance I could, allowing this time to truly be one of discerning God’s will for me. In my prayer journal, which was permanently glued to my side, I wrote wherever and whenever to call upon the Holy Spirit. I wrote a prayer on my airline napkin, scribbling the movements of my heart, bringing God into every bit of it. 

The then-Programs Associate, Hannah, greeted me at the Metro Station and brought me first to Casa San Salvador, where I was able to meet last year’s Casa Community fresh off a sunny basketball game. While briefly meeting the crew, I was introduced to Kate Keeley and Julia Pinto, who would grow to become my dear friends and now-house managers.

I had wanted to experience the fullness of His call, putting my expectations aside and completely trusting in His guiding hand. No, I did not make any plans for my short trip to DC, despite many things still being open at that time. With that, I put my trust in His hand which meant going with the ebb and flow of community. I was given a small taste of this delicate balance between interior and exterior growth, something that I still dance with to date. When the bigger Casa community came together at the end of each day, I couldn’t help myself but crave that time together. Despite being filled with people almost entirely new to me, I felt at ease with this sense of peace filling the space. This excitement around others, around the community, was incomparable. It was the Holy Spirit. 

I was also given the space and grace to reflect on my own, hold moments in gratitude, and ponder the desires of my heart. Given that this was a pilgrimage of sorts, my exploration brought me to the Shrine of St. John Paul the Second. My reflections led me towards this “universal call to holiness” that he spoke greatly of. Internally, I began to ponder the lives of the saints, their own individual callings, yet their collective and wholehearted response to that call. As I continued to wander, the docents I kept passing by invited me to celebrate in daily Mass, which just added to the reminder that the Lord is not outdone in generosity. I was able to partake in the Eucharistic Feast with The Redeemer of Man within this “Redemptor hominis” chapel depicting the spectrum of our humanity and free will. What a gift, indeed. In sacrificing plans and remaining open to grace, His plans were available for me to receive warmly. 

I served with the then-Communications Associate, Megan, at the Christ House, a healthcare clinic for those on the margins and unable to afford it. There, I was able to help sort through donations and explore some of the facility. As the time passed, Megan and I were able to eat lunch with the men, particularly one who was sitting by himself who Megan had come to know through her time there. We all three got to talking, and I found myself enthralled by his stories. Some more serious than others but nonetheless important, I was able to experience accompaniment before I even knew what that meant. We listened to him, and I, often a solution-oriented thinker and unsolicited advisor, was able to be the one to just hear him, listen to him, be with him. There was no way I could ever know what life has brought him, but I didn’t try to. All I could do was listen and let his voice be heard, not necessarily by the whole world, but at least by me. Just like that, I found myself within the heart of the ministry of presence, where God had guided me gently. 

After our time there, we journeyed to the office, enjoying each other’s company all the while. I was able to shadow some of the tasks that I would be doing in this role as Communications Associate. The work came so naturally to me, like this was exactly where God called me to be. This peace poured over into my interview with Meghan Meros, allowing the Spirit to flow openly between us. I had never experienced that before; an interview that brought such a sense of peace no matter the outcome.

Now just a year later, I’m able to  share all of this from a place of abundance. I am just over the half-way point of my year of service as FMS’ Communications Associate. I am able to look back, smile knowing what all I’ve learned since then, and continue allowing grace to help me grow. This intentional community, the ministry of giving myself, the trust and surrender to receive. All, indeed, is gift. 

May I continue to hear His call as I lean into these gifts He’s given me. Lord, help me to listen. Allow me to trust in You and welcome Your gentle guiding hand.

 

Reflection: How is God guiding your heart? In what ways are you listening to that Call? What are the noises that distract and muffle this Call? Sit with these questions and welcome the silence that accompanies.