Thursday, November 17, 2011


Upfront, I must be really clear that I am not “in the know” when it comes to what is going on in the world. I hear of news every now and again, but I am certainly not an expert in current events. However, I am aware of those who are currently protesting on Wall Street and around the world. Without objective news it is hard to wrap my mind around the reasons or context by which hundreds of people are gathered, but they certainly have their reasons and they are within in their rights to do so.
Don't hit a wall in your discernment
With that said, this months message on discernment is not going to be about protesting specifically nor am I going to put myself in the middle of what is going on. But upon reflection the notion of protesting has led me to think about discernment. I wonder if there is a tendency for some to make ones vocation all about what is being taken from them or to get stuck on what one has to give up in following a particular way of life. Which ends up being some what like a protest. For example, thinking of celibacy or a vow of chastity as limiting or an injustice, or seeing the gift of obedience as contrary to a person’s freedom or even embracing the vow of poverty or simplicity as inhuman or unnecessary. A lot of times when we find our selves in discernment we are consumed by what we are asked to say no to instead of what we have a grace filled opportunity to say yes to. If a call to the priesthood or religious life is only seen through the rules or limits where is the inspiration in that? Where does the romance of God seeking us and calling us from the very depths of our hearts granting us an invitation to follow him radically come into play when we see our vocations as something that we can just bear or put up with?
Think of the rich young man who sadly walked away from Jesus' invitation

My brothers! While it is good to be aware of what we are saying no to, the grace of a vocational call to religious life or the priesthood is found in what we are asked to say yes to. In embracing poverty we proclaim with our lives that God is the only necessary treasure in our lives. In fully living the vow of chastity we give God our undivided hearts and let the love of Christ live in us. And in living faithfully the vow of obedience, with our Lord, we strive to only do the Father’s will (Pope John Paul II, Vita Consecrata). What grace and freedom the vows bring into our lives! We say yes to these counsels believing that they will lead us to live as Jesus did and that we in a small way will be His presence here on earth again.
If you want to go where I am going, come follow me!

Maybe it will be a good opportunity this week to reexamine our motives and spirit of discernment. If our discernment is more like a protest, it would be good to let the Lord into our hearts to start to see what the invitation is really all bout. Following Him in freedom and joy! Then we start to be for something rather then just against it and that is what the Lord truly wants.

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