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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!

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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!



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