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Posts tagged ‘vocation’

God Calls the Most Unlikely Among Us

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.”

We find signs in the most unlikely of places, and God calls the most unlikely of people

How to Choose the Way We Live Our Lives

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 ~

Holy Spirit, draw us.

To Be a Saint

Recently in a comment on one of my postings, Pastor John Keller reminded me of a quote about vocation by Frederick Buechner. Today I share another of Buechner’s quotes, this one is also about our vocation . . . what we are all called to as God’s  people . . . to be a saint.

To be a saint is to live not with hands clenched to grasp, to strike, to hold tight to a life that is always slipping away the more tightly we hold it; but it is to live with the hands stretched out both to give and to receive with gladness. To be a saint is to work and weep for the broken and suffering of the world, but it is also to be strangely light of heart in the knowledge that there is something greater than the world that mends and renews.

– Frederick Buechner

May we live our lives with hands unclenched and our hearts as open as this flower.

God Desires Complete Joy for Us

Thursday’s Gospel reading is from John 15:9-11.

Does your life’s path lead you to joy?

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.

Let Us Present Ourselves to God

Today is the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord Jesus, celebrating the day that Mary and Joseph brought him to the temple to present him to God. Many of our sisters made their first profession of vows on that day, so this feast is always special to the sisters, reminding them of that day.

Below is a picture of the motherhouse chapel in which the sisters professed their vows. Neither the chapel nor the motherhouse exist today because of a fire in 1990, but  the sisters who professed their vows on that day, know that their vows and God’s faithfulness still stand.

The old motherhouse chapel of the Dominican Sisters in San Rafael

Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple to be prersented to God. Let us pray:

Christ, be our light.

Jesus, light of the world, you revealed the love of God to us
– let our lives lead other to the truth of God’s mercy.

Jesus, longed for savior, you are presented with the gifts of the poor;
– help us to dedicate our lives to those in need.

Jesus, child of mystery, your mother’s heart was pierced by prophecy;
– strengthen all women whos dedication to you brings pain and sorrow.

Jesus, child of promise,Simeon had waited and prayed for your coming;
– give us patience and hope as we pray for the fulfillment of your gospel.

Jesus, joy of all who seek God, Anna had given you lifelong service;
– bless the elderly and teach us how to give them joy and encouragement.

Bountiful God, you are father and mother to us. You receive the dedication of the infant Son, Jesus, with two turtle doves. You inspire aged Simeon and Anna to bless and announce his mission. O gentle, strong God, we rejoice in your care for us. Help us to draw those who turn away from yo in fear. Let the saving light of Jesus bring truth and peace to our world. This we ask in his name. Amen.

– from People’s Companion to the Breviary, Carmelite Monastery, Indianapolis, IN

Open a New Window, Open a New Door

There are so many instances in the Scriptures where we see someone being called by God. Today’s Gospel reading gives us another one of those instances. Today Jesus calls Simon, Andrew, James, and John. And, truly, God calls each of us today and every day to follow.

I like the way Auntie Mame expresses it in the musical “Mame”. She sings:

Open a new window,
Open a new door,
Travel a new highway,
That’s never been tried before;
Before you find you’re a dull fellow [or perhaps young woman],
Punching the same clock,
Walking the same tight rope
As everyone on the block.
The fellow you ought to be is three dimensional,
Soaking up life down to your toes,
Whenever they say you’re slightly unconventional,
Just put your thumb up to your nose.
And show ’em how to dance to a new rhythm,
Whistle a new song,
Toast with a new vintage,
The fizz doesn’t fizz too long.
There’s only one way to make the bubbles stay,
Simply travel a new high way,
Dance to a new rhythm,
Open a new window ev’ry day!

A window in Chartres, France.