Thursday, February 27, 2014

Discernment: Psalm 23--Reflection II


Ps. 23 tells us that, with God as our Shepherd, we need not fear anything, not even the “dark valley.”  Following God’s call to priesthood or religious life may seem like encountering a “dark valley.” You might be asking yourself such questions as:  What will it be like to enter the seminary, to leave my parents, my siblings, my friends, my dream of having an ideal family, finding the love of my life, abandoning a successful career as_______________________.  Will the things that light up my life now still be a part of my life as a seminarian, a postulant, a novice, a professed member of a religious community?  Will I be able to give up those things? Will I be able to live without them and still be happy?

Imagine yourself meeting the man/woman of your dreams.  All that matters to you now is building a life together with that person.   Fear of the “dark valley” does not enter your mind. You have each other, love each other, trust each other, believe in each other. Those of you called to become women/men religious, priests of God, the One persistently calling you to the priesthood or to religious life is the Lord Himself. He believes in you, loves you, trusts you, wants, above all, that you be His partner for life.

Those of us who have answered the call did so because the Person to whom we committed our lives and who chose us is the Lord, the one who called Mary’s name at the empty tomb, the one who, through the angel Gabriel called Mary to be His Mother and said to her “Be not afraid. You have found favor with God.” The One persistently calling you is saying the same thing to you. As the psalmist says in Psalm 23, He is “at your side…With…[His]rod and…[His] staff that give …[you] courage.”

What is blocking that courage? Who is challenging your resolve? Talk to the Lord about the answer to both of those questions and seek His advice!




Monday, February 24, 2014

Discernment--Psalm 23


In Psalm 23, the Lord is my Shepherd, we are reminded that, because God shepherds us, “we shall not want.”  In walking away from God’s will for us personally—whether that be the call to marriage, to religious life, to priesthood, to the diaconate or the single life, or any choice of lesser significance—is it that we fear being wanting, that we will lack essential needs, that we will be malnourished in the essence of what it means to be human, to live a full life?

I suggest that we take some time to reflect upon our fears and get in touch with answers to the following question: What do you think you will lack if:

1.      You enter religious life

2.      You enter the seminary

3.      You begin the diaconate program

4.      You say “yes” to this one woman/man whom you believe God is calling you to commit  your life in faith, hope and love

5.      You commit to the single life, giving all of your time, talent, and energy to a professional career and/or a ministry in the church that builds a better world and one that lives according to God’s decrees