Posts tagged ‘discernment’
Today’s Responsorial Psalm is from Psalm 37. I’m pretty sure I’ve shared this before, but verses 4 and 5 have always spoken to me about something that is key in discerning what God is calling us to. We need to listen to our hearts. Of course, this works better if we align our hearts with God.
Take delight in God, and God will give you the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37 is tomorrow’s Responsorial Psalm. Whenever I have the privilege to speak with young women about discerning their call, verse 4 of this Psalm comes to mind . . . and to my lips:
Delight yourself in the Lord, and God will give you the desires of your heart.
In other words, we can trust the desires of our own hearts when we our hearts and minds are centered in God.
While this post is entitled, “I Love Being a Nun!”, actually I am a sister. Nuns are those who are cloistered and primarily involved in the ministry of prayer. Those of us who are sisters are involved in apostolic ministry – and that’s a big umbrella (teaching, hospital ministry, parish ministry, social work, working for social justice, etc.). So, it would be more correct for me to say, “I love being a sister”, which I do often. But since people often call sisters nuns . . .
Well, you see what I mean.
Anyway, nineteen years ago today I entered the convent and started the process of becoming a Dominican Sister of San Rafael. I made my first profession of vows in 1996 and my perpetual vows in 1999. And while nineteen is not one of those special numbers like 20, 25, or 50, it still seems pretty significant to me. I was 40 years old when I entered (I guess you can do the math). And I still love being a sister. My family tells me that they have never known me to be happier. Living in community – doing work that is satisfying and of benefit to others – praying together with a community of sisters on a daily and regular basis – being encouraged to continue to study . . . to be all we can be (for the sake of others) . . . What can I say but that I am grateful!
And Meister Eckhart, the Dominican mystic from the 13th century tells us, “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”
I highly recommend this life to others!
Yesterday we read about the call of the Prophet Isaiah. In Sunday’s first reading from Amos 7:12-15, we see that, no matter how unlikely we might think we are as God’s choice for some special work, God just doesn’t see it that way. All throughout Scripture, and all through our lives we discover that God overlooks education, status, gender, training, and economics and calls us to as poet, prophet, and preacher . . . to be holy, to help, and to heal.
Amos answered Amaziah, “I was no prophet,
nor have I belonged to a company of prophets;
I was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores.
The LORD took me from following the flock, and said to me,
Go, prophesy to my people Israel.”
The first reading on Saturday is Isaiah 6:1-8 – a dramatic story of God calling the prophet. Though we may not see visions, doesn’t it always feel a bit dramatic to experience a sense of call . . . to get a glimpse of the Holy . . . to be grasped by Something bigger than ourselves?
It may even give us the courage to say, “Here I am, send me.”
In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne, with the train of his garment filling the temple.
Seraphim were stationed above; each of them had six wings: with two they veiled their faces, with two they veiled their feet, and with two they hovered aloft.
They cried one to the other, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts!
All the earth is filled with his glory!”
At the sound of that cry, the frame of the door shook and the house was filled with smoke.
Then I said, “Woe is me, I am doomed!
For I am a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me, holding an ember that he had taken with tongs from the altar.
He touched my mouth with it and said,
“See, now that this has touched your lips, your wickedness is removed, your sin purged.”
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?”
“Here I am,” I said; “send me!”
As the Vocation Minister for our congregation of Dominican Sisters, I am often asked about how to choose from among the many wonderful possibilities of vocations. It is easy for us to choose when Choice A is clearly good, and Choice B is clearly bad. But it usually doesn’t work that we. We most often make choices from among things that are good. And if they are good, we also know that God is in them. So we are also not making a choice between God and Not-God.
Now much as I would like to tell many gifted, generous, and committed women that the best choice is to become a Dominican Sister of San Rafael, alas, I cannot do that. We only know our own hearts. And, as much as this has been a wonderful and life-giving vocation for me, others have other fulfilling vocations to live.
So how to choose? Perhaps the Sufi poet Rumi can help us. I don’t think I could say it any better!
Let yourself be silently drawn
by the strange pull of what you really love.
It will not lead you astray.
~ Rumi ~
From Thursday’s Responsorial Psalm (Psalm 16) we read:
Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
You will show me the path to life,
fullness of joys in your presence,
the delights at your right hand forever.
Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
And when God shows us the path of life, may we all see it as clearly as the one above.
Thursday’s Gospel reading is from John 15:9-11.
Jesus said to his disciples: “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.
“I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete.”
Last week I spoke about discernment for life decisions in all of the junior religion classes at Justin-Siena High School in Napa. I found the students to be receptive, engaged, and welcoming. It is always a pleasure to visit that school.
Among the things I share with the students is that we need to follow our passions when choosing our life’s path. What is it that gives us joy? If we choose that which gives us joy, we will find ourselves in the heart of God. And I use this very passage, “I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete.” I also always quote from Psalm 37, “Delight yourself in the Lord your God, and God will give you the desires of your heart.”
Our deepest desires, those that result in our joy being made complete, are God given. The challenge . . . the journey of our lives . . . is discovering or uncovering just what those deep desires are.
It’s never too early or too late to embark on that journey. And it’s a journey on which the One who desires our deepest joy walks with us.