Archive for the 'eVangelizer' Category

Last few blog posts

Dear Friends,

We thank you for visiting For Your Vocation blog! We will be taking the blog off-line. Please join our For Your Vocation Facebook Page, especially the “Notes” tab on the side, where we will continue to post thoughts and reflections on discerning a vocation to the priesthood and consecrated life.

Again, thank you!

Truth

When Jesus is arrested and brought to trial on Good Friday, Pontius Pilate asks him, “What is truth?” (John 18:38) Have you ever wondered that? Not necessarily truth in the “big sense,” like the truth of humanity or the truth of the universe, but just plain-old everyday truth. Like whether or not you’re on the right path, whether you should “go for” the opportunity that just presented itself to you, whether your sense of how to live a moral life is on the up-and-up. What’s the truth of those situations? Is God happy with me and my life choices so far? Am I doing the right thing? Have I been following in the path God has marked out for me?

Trying to discern God’s movements in our lives is no easy task. It requires several things:
–a desire to know God’s movements
–an openness to noticing them
–a receptivity to accepting them and what they mean for my life
–a sense of courage to follow-through with the call or invitation of God
–a sense of humility to let go of my own agendas when God might be calling me away from them to something bigger.

This Sunday’s responsorial psalm is a beautiful plea to this God of ours: “Your ways, O Lord, make known to me; teach me your paths, guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior.” Might I suggest that you pray with this psalm prayer each day of the coming week, asking God to help you come to know him and his ways better. After all, who better to help us out with our big questions? He IS the Truth.

Living for the Lord

“For if we live, we live for the Lord,” says St. Paul (Rom 14:8) in this Sunday’s Second Reading. This is quite an examination of conscience for me. Is my living really “living for the Lord”? Is the way I choose to act, think, speak, and believe such that the Lord would want to say, “That’s mine!” Is the motivation and goal of my day-to-day living focused on God and what he had in mind when I was created in his image and likeness? And how in the world do I approach an answer to those kinds of questions?

I asked a six-year-old, “What do you think it means to ‘live for the Lord’?” He answered, “It means you should get a job in a church.” I asked a ninety-six year old, who answered, “It means, darlin’, that he’s your everything.” I asked a college student: “It probably means more than I care to think about right now.” I asked someone who has been hurt by the Church: “It means God is bigger than any mistakes I or anyone else might make.” I asked someone who’s given her life in service to the Church: “It means rising above the fray.” I asked a friend: “Living for the Lord is trying our best to live in love.”

So…with all the data in, I am challenged to answer the question myself. What does it mean to “live for the Lord”? I suppose it means receiving the gift of life God gives me each day, and spending it freely on whomever it is I encounter on that given day, transmitting to them the gift of life and love so freely given me.

What does it mean to you?

The Gift of Youthful Fidelity

When Pope Benedict XVI met with young women religious at World Youth Day last week, he said, among many other beautiful things, that “the Church needs your youthful fidelity, rooted and built up in Christ.” It seems like such a simple statement, an obvious reality. But as I have sat with this since last week, I have been struck by his use of the word need.

I have the privilege of spending lots of time with young women who are either contemplating a religious vocation or have recently begun the formation process in religious life. I experience their “youthful fidelity” on a daily basis, and it is always—always—a source of inspiration and encouragement to me. There is a freshness and a vitality to their love for Christ that rekindles my own “first love” and reminds me of just why I have committed myself to Christ in the service of the Church for a lifetime. I think the Pope was 100% on-target with his use of the word “need.” The Church does need the witness of youthful fidelity to Christ, as a confirmation that boldly proclaims that all we have been promised by God is trustworthy…and that God is worth the gift of our lives!

The Holy Father went on to say to young women religious: “Your lives must testify to the personal encounter with Christ which has nourished your consecration, and to all the transforming power of that encounter.” It all starts with a personal relationship with Christ…and from there, if we remain open to his love, he can transform all that is fearful within us to trust, all that is anxious within us to courage, all that is doubtful within us to deep, deep faith. May the Christ who knows each of us so personally, through the power of his Spirit, fill you this day with the love of his Heart.

“I will be with you”

In yesterday’s liturgy (EX 3:1-6, 9-12), we read of Moses who stood in the presence of God, before the burning bush . Moses was afraid and didn’t understand what God was asking of him. Sometimes we don’t know to what God is calling us, but he simply wants our availability, “Here I am, Lord.”

I suppose its like being “Open 24 hours” – being ready to do the will of God always, trusting that even though we may not “know the way” (JN 14:4-5) or think we can accomplish what God is asking, he will help us do his will. The Lord won’t abandon us to fulfill his will, for “I will be with you (EX 3:12),” says the Lord.

Retreating

I’m of that generation that remembers what it was like before cell phones. And 3G. And vocabularies that held words like “qwerty” and “blogosphere.” And even (dare I say it?) iStuff. My nieces and nephews sometimes find me and my peers entertaining as we hand over our new technology to their much more expert abilities and understandings, only to have them returned to us with ringtones that embarrass us in the middle of grocery stores and screensavers that force us to profess our love for Justin Bieber. Fear not, though, I have acquired enough techno-sophistication to spare myself such embarrassment and false allegiances. But what I haven’t figured out is why, once I start using all that “stuff,” it so readily finds a somewhat indispensible place in my day-to-day life, especially considering how easily I lived without it not too long ago.

In a few days, I will be headed off for my annual 6-day silent retreat. Gasps from the crowd, I know, but I love it. And I crave it every single year—six entire days of inaccessibility, of quiet, of solitude, with all that time, space, and energy to be able to center solely and completely on God and the “stuff” of the spiritual life. Now don’t get me wrong—I’m not anti-technology (obviously—I’m writing for a blog, for heaven’s sake!) but I do recognize its limitations and its inherent vortex characteristic that gets me all wrapped up in minutes, newsfeeds, updates, and tweets. Again, I’m not anti-that. But sometimes it literally gets me all a-twitter and makes it too easy for me to forget what’s truly important—what’s truly Real. So…as I enter into six blissful days of silence, I may not have an iPhone or an iPad with me, but I will have one ‘i’ with me: the great I Am. And that’s more than enough.

“A Great Time to Be a Priest”

Friends, if you are considering God’s call to the priesthood and haven’t read this blog post by Fr. Robert Barron, take a moment, now. Despite what popular media might tell you, it’s a great time to be a priest!

Always near

I had a very strange set of circumstances happen last week: I got stuck in the Resurrection. Not a bad place to be, but I bet you’re wondering what exactly I mean. It goes like this. Last week, I found myself in St. Louis, an archdiocese that celebrates the Ascension on Sunday rather than Thursday. I returned on Saturday to my home diocese of Hartford, an archdiocese that celebrates the Ascension on Thursday rather than Sunday. So technically, I never had the chance to celebrate liturgically the feast of the Ascension—getting me “stuck” in the Resurrection, or more technically, getting the Resurrected Christ of my spiritual life “stuck” on earth without ascending to Heaven!

I spent quite a bit of time in those “interim days” pondering the Ascension readings and considering what would happen if Jesus had never “returned” to Heaven, but rather remained with us here “even until the end of time.” Part of me thinks that would be a pretty incredible reality—that every living human person from the moment of the Incarnation would have an opportunity to meet, touch, hear, see, and experience the risen Jesus “in the flesh.” Certainly the entire population of the world would believe in the Christ if we had the opportunity to experience him with our own eyes and ears. Right? Well…let’s think about that.

We do have that opportunity. He didn’t ascend and abandon us. He ascended and remained with us. The risen Body of Christ remains in our midst, both sacramentally in the Eucharist and incarnationally in us, the people of God who are His Body. Right there in the Ascension Gospel we read: “While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. They said, ‘Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky?’ ” Why are you looking for Jesus up there? Instead, look inside. Look around. You can’t miss him if you know what you’re looking for.

A friend of mine recently made an inadvertently comical statement as she tried to explain why she is sometimes difficult to reach. She said something like, “If I’m not here, I’m somewhere else. But no matter where I am, I’m always somewhere.” Funny, right? Maybe…but not if we consider it from the point of view of the risen, ascended, always-present Christ. He’s always somewhere nearby—nearer to us than we are to our very selves. Happy Ascension.

Eucharistic Adoration for Vocations

Dear Friends,

I was just looking through the USCCB site for quotes or information on the saint we celebrate today, St. Justin Martyr, and came across this wonderful page, A Holy Hour for Vocations. In this Holy Hour format a reflection on the Eucharist by St. Justin Martyr is offered for our reflection, “[This Eucharist] has been blessed by the word of prayer instituted by Him, and from it our flesh and blood by assimilation are nourished. This, we are taught, is both the flesh and blood of Jesus incarnate.”

Jesus incarnate is the giver of every vocation. May he bless all those called to the priesthood or consecrated life!

Visitation

Today we celebrate the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to her cousin Elizabeth. “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, ‘Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.’ (Luke 1:41-42)”

Elizabeth recognized the arrival her cousin, Mary, immediately, not only by the joyful sound of Mary’s voice in her ears, but also by the movements of the Holy Spirit in her and in the child in her womb. How much we can learn from Elizabeth and Mary in this passage for the discernment of our vocation! Discerning our vocation is like listening for the Lord’s call in our hearts. It may not be an audable voice we hear with our ears, but a voice we hear in our hearts. Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting with her ears, but more importantly it moved her deeply in her heart. Its important to be attentive to our interior response to God’s voice in our hearts, asking ourselves, “Am I responding to his call?” “Am I ignoring his voice?” “Am I welcoming his presence in my life?” Its important, too, to consider the encouragement we receive from others to respond to God’s voice. Mary certainly was that to Elizabeth!

In the Church there are many women’s religious communities that are named after this mystery of the Visitation and bring Christ’s love to those they meet. Let us pray for these religious communities, and ask Our Lord to help us bring His love to others today.



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