Good morning brothers and sisters. My name is Caitlin Fischetti, and I have been in this ward since I was born. As my mom likes to say, it takes a village to raise a child, and I can definitely say that was true for me. I would like to wish every woman in this ward a Happy Mother’s Day, because even if you don’t have children of your own, you have been a mother to me by influencing our family and my own personal Gospel growth in this ward. I have many mothers in this ward, that have helped me grow and have shaped who I have become. Most importantly though, I would like to wish my mom a happy mother’s day because she is the greatest mom in the whole world. As many of you know I am leaving for my mission this week, so if you could show her a little extra love right now, I would really appreciate it.
Today I have been asked to speak about being a partaker of the divine nature which I heard is also related to the young women’s theme this year. To be a partaker in something means action, you need to actively participate to receive. This scripture calls us to then be active and involved in our divine nature. For us to stand up and do that, we must first understand our divine nature. We are literal descendents of our Heavenly Father, which means our very nature is to be like Him, we inherited qualities from Him just like we inherited traits from our earthly parents. I personally feel that many of the spiritual gifts we receive, are like our spiritual DNA. We know our purpose here on Earth is to use our spiritual gifts, and our heart, mind, and soul to become better and prepare to return to live with our Heavenly Father. This earthly probation is a necessary step in the plan of salvation. I believe this knowledge, the idea that this is a period of trial so we can progress, is a part of our divine nature. We inherently desire to progress, to become better than what we once were. This is the desire of our hearts, to one day be perfected. What is this perfection we can one day reach? While salvation is a wonderful blessing from on high, exaltation is so glorious we can hardly even imagine it. It is the ability for us to continue to learn and create. To be exalted on high, to become like Gods and Goddesses that is our eternal destiny, and this mortal probation is to prepare us for that. Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, “And while we may look at the vast expanse of the universe and say, “What is man in comparison to the glory of creation?” God Himself said we are the reason He created the universe! His work and his glory- the purpose for this magnificent universe- is to save and exalt mankind. In other words, the vast expanse of eternity, the glories and mysteries of infinite space and time are all built for the benefit of ordinary mortals like you and me. Our Heavenly Father created the universe that we might reach our potential as His sons and daughters.”
We have this unlimited potential! We can become creators of vast expanses, we can do anything, we can become anything! I believe that is why this Gospel is requires so much investment of time, energy, and talents. It is all about progression, learning to better ourselves, and growing and learning even through our trials. We can not, we absolutely must not sit idly by and hope our testimonies grow stronger. We work at them constantly by being active in our wards, praying and reading scriptures daily. Likewise, we don’t take the exaltation of our fellow men lightly either. We believe in being constantly involved in missionary work, and serving those around us. We believe in a community that can work together to return to a loving Heavenly Father. We believe in saving ourselves, but also our families, our ward members, and our kindred dead. What a blessing that is.
My roommate always likes to tell me, “You are doing better than you think you are, but you could be doing better.” This is very true for me. Over the past several years I have grown a lot at BYU. I have had the best four years of my life. As much as I have grown socially and emotionally, luckily not so physically, I have a lot to go spiritually. Many people say your 20s are there to help you figure out who you are and what you want. I have realized how easy it is to get lost over the past few years. I have been very lost at times, far from the light the Gospel can provide. Jeffrey R. Holland said “You are literally a spirit daughter of heavenly parents with a divine nature and an eternal destiny. 1 That surpassing truth should be fixed deep in your soul and be fundamental to every decision you make as you grow into mature womanhood. There could never be a greater authentication of your dignity, your worth, your privileges, and your promise. Your Father in Heaven knows your name and knows your circumstance. He hears your prayers. He knows your hopes and dreams, including your fears and frustrations. And He knows what you can become through faith in Him. Because of this divine heritage you, along with all of your spiritual sisters and brothers, have full equality in His sight and are empowered through obedience to become a rightful heir in His eternal kingdom” Luckily, I always had the inherent knowledge that I was a daughter of God and He loved me. I never doubted that, and mostly due to that simple knowledge I never drifted far enough from who I am and who I want to be to not make it back. I am so grateful for the Young Women’s program for teaching me and helping me to understand my divine nature. While a lot of Young Women’s is fun activities, girls camp, and group bonding- the most important thing the program instilled in me is the strength we gain when we know who we are and whose we are. I know that I am a daughter of God, but I also know that every person in this room is a child of God. Understanding that vital doctrine allows us to serve one another and be like Christ. One of my favorite themes of the Book of Mormon is the idea of being an instrument in the hands of the Lord. One of the greatest desires of my heart is to be humble enough to be molded by the Lord so I can be used to do his great work. One of my very favorite stories in all of scripture is of Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah. In Chapter 27 the chapter summary reads, “Alma the younger and the four sons of Mosiah seek to destroy the church.” They had been on a mission to spread all things wicked, to bring down everything his father had taught as prophet of the church. Yet the Lord reaches out to them and Alma the younger has a miraculous experience in which he says in verse 28, “Nevertheless after wading through much tribulation, repenting nigh unto death, the Lord in mercy hath seen fit to snatch me out of an everlasting burning, and I am born of God.” What a tremendous experience! Now, look at the change we see in Alma the Younger and the sons of Mosiah in first in 27:36 “and they were instruments in the hands of God in bringing many to the knowledge of God.” Then in chapter 28 verse 3, “Now they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble.” We can all be like this! If we learn our own divine nature and that our souls have been redeemed, we can quake at the idea of any soul being lost. We can become instruments in the hands of the Lord to bring all unto him.
The foundational knowledge of my divine nature has helped me realize 2 things. 1) Because I am a daughter of God, I have limitless potential and I need to keep working hard. 2) I need to share this beautiful life changing heartwarming message to every person I can. This knowledge that I gained during the Young Women’s program is what inspired me to serve a mission in the first place. I need to go on a mission to be better to become who I am supposed to become. While I won’t be seeing my friends or family, dating or falling in love, or just relaxing for the next 18 months, I will be dedicating my heart and soul to the Lord. This decision was not easy for me. After I broke my back last year, I assumed that a mission was out of the question. I had great plans of internships that would lead to a future career, and finding someone to marry. I was very content with those plans. Obviously, the Lord had something a little different in mind. It took me a while to really get the whole picture. Over the summer last year I started thinking about a mission, but I would shove those thoughts to the farthest corner of my mind because I was having a great summer and I had the greatest friends anyone could ask for out at school. I got back to school and everything was perfect, I really don’t think I have ever been so happy in my entire life. For the first time I felt like I was in the perfect place. Except for this nagging thing I kept pushing away. As I was watching a friend prepare for his mission, I kept thinking about it more and more. One day I just decided okay I will start my papers, if that is what the Lord wants me to do, it will work out, if not I will stay here and pretend like this never happened. Later that day, while sitting in my Doctrine and Covenants class, I was overcome by the Spirit in a way I had never experienced before while reading D&C 38:7 Which reads, “But behold verily verily I say unto you that mine eyes are upon you. I am in your midst and ye cannot see me.” I knew right then and there that without a doubt it was time for me to go on a mission. I knew that Heavenly Father was watching over me and guiding my life in the direction it needed to go. It took a little while to figure out my papers and the timing of it all, and it wasn’t easy. But, here I am giving my farewell talk about to head into the MTC. The lord will give us inspiration so we can know what path we need to take. He loves us so much, and as long as we are doing our part He will keep in touch and influence our lives.
There have been times in my life where I have felt very alone and very lost. While I was in Young Women’s I struggled a lot with my self worth. High school was not an easy time for me. But, The YW program was a rock for me. I loved the program and the personal strength it gave me. Understanding my divine nature, and individual worth was essential to my growth and allowed me to persevere through tough days. I was so blessed during some of the darkest days of my life because of the simple knowledge that I knew that I had a Heavenly Father who loved me, who cared about me, and would listen and answer my prayers. I just love the light that the Gospel can bring into our lives. It can illuminate anything that was once dark. Luckily, I was raised in this Church so I always knew of my divine nature and divine right to progression. Yet many people are not so fortunate. The next 18 months of my life will be dedicated to helping illuminate the lives of others. To share the simple message of this Gospel- that He lives, and loves us. As Nephi says in 1 Nephi 11:17 “And I said unto him: I know that he loveth his children; nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.” The most important thing of all is that the Lord loves us! The Lord is mindful of everyone, regardless of how unloved we may personally feel. Each one us has a divine spark, our divine nature is not taken away because of choices we make or where we come from. We can always return. Jeffrey R. Holland said, “I do not know who in this vast audience today may need to hear the message of forgiveness inherent in this parable (in reference to the prodigal son), but however late you think you are, however many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made or talents you think you don’t have, or however far from home and family and God you feel you have traveled, I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines.” I know that this Gospel provides a way for us to become better than we are now. Spiritually, emotionally, and physically. The Lord loves us, I testify that I have a knowledge of his love and concern for us. I know that this Church is true, and am so grateful to be able to serve the people of San Jose California for the next 18 months. I love this Gospel, I love its message and our ability to eternally progress, not just by ourselves but with our families.
I would like to close with a scripture, a psalm Joseph Smith wrote, D&C 128:22 “Brethren, shall we not go on in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage, brethren; and on, on to rejoice and be exceedingly glad. Let the earth break forth into singing. Let the dead speak forth anthems of eternal praise to the King Immanuel… Let the mountains shout for joy and all ye valleys cry aloud; and all ye seas and dry lands tell the wonders of your Eternal King! And ye rivers, brooks, and rills, flow down with gladness. Let the woods and all the tress of the field praise the Lord; and ye solid rocks weep for joy! And the sun, moon, and the morning stars sing together, and let all the sons of God shout for joy! And let the eternal creations declare his name forever and ever! And again I say, how glorious is the voice we hear from heaven, proclaiming in our ears, glory, and salvation, and honor, and immortality, and eternal life; kingdoms, principalities, and powers!”