We all have hopes and dreams, imaginings of our happily ever afters. So do the Saints. Saint Gemma dreamed and longed to be a nun. There were times in her life she thought that dream was finally coming to be fulfilled, only to be thwarted at the last minute. She was thwarted by illness on several occasions, and shed many tears when, after a stay at a convent, she had to leave and go back to her family.
One instance in particular she was thwarted by the sisters changing their mind on her entrance at the last minute. Instead of a straightforward explanation of why they were not allowing her to enter, they made the process more difficult for her, requiring her to bring more medical certificates, which was impossible for her to do.
As discouraging and frustrating as this sounds, Saint Gemma moved through this time with grace, both receiving the grace to be at peace as this door was closed, and giving grace to the sisters instead of blaming or complaining about their changing attitude toward her and lack of communication.
She recognized that Jesus was consoling her heart, yet her desire did not go away. She was honest in her prayer and complained to Jesus that her desire was not being fulfilled. She also confided her fear that her desire would be taken away. She wrote in her autobiography: “I spoke to Jesus about it and one morning when I felt this desire more strongly than usual Jesus said to me: ‘Daughter, what are you afraid of? Hide this desire in my heart and no one will be able to take it away.’”
Gemma “spoke to Jesus about it” as we would confide in a friend about our unfulfilled desires. Whether it be for children, a job, a relationship, or a virtue that is particularly challenging, Jesus is waiting for us to speak to Him about our unfulfilled desires. And if those desires are never fulfilled on this side of heaven, we can, like Saint Gemma, turn to Him, who is the fulfillment of all desire.
Closing Prayer //
Lord, you know the secret desires of my heart. I lay my unfulfilled desires at Your feet. May these longings of my heart draw me close to You and somehow bring You glory. I surrender myself to Your will, which is all good and for my good. Be my All in All.
Reflection Questions //
What unfulfilled desires do you long to talk to the Lord about?
When have you experienced the Lord's presence during a time of unfulfilled or thwarted desire?