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Sister Hong Nga Nguyen, S.P.

Sister Hong Nga Nguyen, age 25, made temporary vows on September 25, 2011. She is from Vietnam and is studying English and math at Seattle Central Community College. She lives with four other sisters in Seattle.

One of the homilies during the Easter season that I heard was “God is not real if we don’t open our heart to accept him.” People sometimes will wonder where God is, how to meet him and who he looks like. God is everywhere, and according to Jesuit spirituality, God is found in almost everything. We can feel God’s presence in nature, in people, and in our daily activities in which we sometimes take our attention off God.

calendar pageIn ancient times, the desert father, Anthony, had an intimate relationship with God in his quiet place. For Mother Teresa of Calcutta, God was found in those she was serving. God is here and now. But when I have a busy schedule and my life is so involved in many different things, I don’t have much time and opportunity to experience God’s love in my life. I did invent a new way to still experience how God is real for me. I did it by taking the seven literally busy days in my calendar each week and turning them into a practical, effective FUN way to sense God’s presence.

The general rule for a calendar is to start the week on Sunday and end on Saturday. But my calendar starts on Friday and ends on Thursday. It works by taking the first letter of each day in the week.

Friday is like Friend, and stands for Jesus.

Saturday is for Seeing God. I will spend my Saturday seeing God in many different ways. See God in my friend; See him when I walk outside; See him when I do chores. See him when I read Saturday morning; See him when I watch the local news.

Sunday is for Saying to God: I will say to God how much I love him. I will speak to my friends with respectful words. I will say to my family that I love them. I will say to my classmate that things will get better if we try our best.

Monday is for Meeting God: Where can I meet God? Everywhere! On the bus, at a friend’s house, at school, at home, on the streets, at a restaurant, in a theater …

Tuesday is for Thinking of God: It is a special day. I think of God when I am with other people. I think of God when I help someone. I think of God when things get harder on the way. I think of God when receiving good news.

Wednesday is for Waiting for God: Standing at the bus stop every day is the time of waiting for God. Here I can talk, feel and sense God’s presence around me. Waiting in the line before a movie starts is an act of waiting for God.

Thursday is for Talking with God: After Meeting God, Seeing him, Waiting for him, and Thinking of him, now I need to talk with him and let him know that I want to love him more and want to do his will in serving his people, wherever that might be. I want to talk with him and tell him that every day is a special day to know he is here and now. As a woman religious, I sometimes find it is hard to find time to sit still and pray. But using those metaphors for the calendar days is the way to help me feel an intimate relationship with God and the love with others. It is not necessary to go to the chapel to pray. I experience God everywhere, every place and in everything.

Then, Friday is repeated again. I find it is a fun and good way to help me immerse myself in God’s love. Also, by using my calendar this way, I get more energy to start a new day. So tomorrow, whatever day it is, I will be loved and learn to love.