Thursday, August 14, 2014

Discernment: Some Helpful Questions

Some tips on discernment of your vocation in life:  As we are about to begin a new school year, it might be a time that you are considering to which vocation in life God may be calling you.  Remember that God desires, above all, your happiness and peace, not whether or not you choose marriage, religious life, or the single life.  In which of those vocation will be most happy, most at peace with yourself is the question I suggest you ask yourself. In which of those vocations do you believe you will become your best self as you live out your baptismal call to build up God’s kingdom here on earth and why?  Here are some questions to ponder in prayer:
  • What do you want most in life?
  • What are your greatest fears?
  • What are your deepest hopes?
  • What makes you most alive?
  • What is God like for you?
  • How do you feel about God?
  • How do you feel about self?
  • How do you feel about the world?
  • When you imagine yourself in religious life, what feelings arise in your heart?
  • When you imagine yourself in marriage, what feelings arise in your heart?
  • When you imagine yourself as a single woman, what feelings arise in your heart?
  • What gifts would you bring to religious life?
  • What gifts would you bring to a marriage?
  • What gifts would you bring to the single life?
  • Imagine yourself studying spirituality in general, Franciscan spirituality, theology.  What feelings emerge in you?
  • Imagine yourself living and working with other SSMs or members of another religious community, carrying out a common mission, serving the poor together. What feelings emerge for you?
  • Which do you most value: independence, doing your own thing according to your value system and your baptismal call; or being interdependent and carrying out  your baptismal call to mission according to the values of the religious community and implementing its mission within the Church?
  • When you picture yourself  5 years from now in each of the life’s vocations (marriage, religious life, single life), what images arise? What feelings come to you?
(Source:   Make a Difference! A Guide for Life Choice published by the National Coalition for Church Vocations,  5420 S. Cornell Avenue, Chicago, IL 60615)
Answering those questions in prayer may help you come to clarity about your vocation in life. I would love to hear your responses.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Discernment: Rendering ourselves Unreceptive

DISCERNMENT:  God’s messages, as in today’s Scripture readings, Jer 26: 1-9 and Mt. 13: 54-58, many times ring in our ears as: “Who are you to bring me that message, to say such a thing, to question me?”  Rather than hearing what God is trying to tell me, many times I attack the messenger. I do not want my life disturbed. I am comfortable, going about my business, doing what I want to do.  Is it possible, though, that God is calling me to a deeper commitment,  to a ministry/career change I have been avoiding, to a relationship I have been less than willing to reconcile, to pursuing a relationship that would be mutually rewarding, to  a vocation I have been resisting?  When Jesus enters our lives through a messenger, wanting to bring us Good News, and we react with “who does he/she thinks she/he is; I’m not called to that? I’m not going to consider such-and-such; or leave me alone, I have my mind made up”   it is not Jesus who is hindered in His work in our lives. By our reaction and unwillingness to listen, we render ourselves unreceptive.