'How does one know if the Lord is calling? In varied ways, but as Blessed Teresa of Calcutta responded when asked how someone knows if she is called: 'She knows. She knows.' This is the language of the heart, and often it is difficult to put words to the language of the heart. The good news is, no one discerns a vocation in the Church alone - with the help of a vocation director, you will be able to discern whether the Lord is calling you to one community or another, or to marriage or the single life. All disciples of Christ are called to love without limits...' (from Sisters of Life website)
'She knows. She knows...'
When I first heard these words spoken by Mother Teresa, I thought my heart would burst into flame. Watching a videotape with my husband, I too felt an inexplicable, unwordable sense of being called. Not able to understand how that fit in with my life as a wife and mother, still I knew. I just knew.
I have a fuller idea now, thirty years later, of that sense of 'call.' I still can't describe it, really, and obviously I was not being called to Religious life. I was, however, being called to a total gift of self to God, and to living for Him with no ifs, ands or buts, and to be His disciple.
As a layperson with such a call, I am not alone. 'ALL disciples of Christ are called to love without limits.'
Every absolute one of us is called.
If I sit with Jesus and let Him draw me closer, I become more aware of the truth of His call. I may not be able to describe it, really, but I know. I know.
I just know.
'It was not you who chose Me, it was I Who chose you to go forth and bear fruit.' (John 15:16)
'Go courageously to God along the way He has traced out for you, steadfastly embracing the means He offers you.' (St. Margaret Mary Alacoque)
- Do I have an awareness of God calling me? What 'next step' can I take to answer His call?
- What path(s) has God traced out for me? Am I following these steadfastly, or do I need to pray for courage to embrace these means more fully?
- Was there ever a time when I felt 'my heart would burst into flame?' Can I identify at all with these words?
'Intimacy with God is not for the saints only, it is for all of us. God dwells in each soul which is in the state of grace and calls each of us to be united to Him in intimate friendship....We are all called therefore to this life of intimacy, to this communing with the Most High.' (from 'Listening to the Indwelling Presence,' compiled by a Religious, Pellegrini)
Painting: Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, The Calling of St Matthew
I just know too...and yes, I can identify with the 'heart bursting into flames' image!ReplyDelete
Thank you for the questions in your reflection section, Nancy.
I am especially challenged by this.. " What path(s) has God traced out for me? Am I following these steadfastly, or do I need to pray for courage to embrace these means
I find there is always the need to embrace 'the path' more fully in my life and within my soul. Thank God for His enabling grace!
Ah, thank you. Thank you so much for this. I have the wife and mother vocation too and thrill with gratitude for it. But I remember as far back as high school, having the first stirrings toward this married vocation complicated by what I described as a distant bell chime, the kind of chime that calls the contemplative nuns to prayer seven times a day. I didn't know what do with that. I still don't, fully. But your writings certainly help. I'm not alone.ReplyDelete
There have been times when I've experienced positive heart-sickness when I think about the life of Jesus's brides in the convent. And I know it's a holy, not a destructive, discontent. I know. It may not be till the end of my life that these things are reconciled in my soul but I won't deny any part of the call I hear.
Thank God indeed, Trish. One of the key parts of my embracing God's call, 30-years ago, was recognizing and embracing the means He had already traced out for me.... my vocation as wife and mother.ReplyDelete
And Monika, I love what you wrote about the "distant bell chime." I also identify with the holy, not destructive, discontent.
What a blessing that we can all be here together. We are not alone!:)
I've definitely felt God calling me since I was 17 but have felt confused as to how I was supposed to answer Him. First I pursued religious life, but then the onset of a disability at age 22 barred me from that way of life. I wandered for a bit because I was angry with God but there were calm moments when I pursued God wholeheartedly but then fell back into old habits (I identify with the seed that grew rapidly but then withered due to lack of roots). During those calm moments I still felt the call to religious life but in the ancient as well as new Order of Virgins. I wouldn't stick with that idea too long because my heart still ached for religious life and, if you get to know me, I don't like to deviate from the ideal I've set up in my head. Now I've been following the Lord more consistently and have had a deeper, more convicted attraction to consecrated virginity. Something just clicked inside me a few months ago and now I'm pursuing and discerning this vocation with all my heart. A recent religious experience makes me feel sure that this is the vocation planned for me from all eternity. I still prayer for God's will but I am taking steps to further discern such as finding a spiritual director and speaking to someone at the diocese.ReplyDelete
I have definitely felt my heart on fire, as if it would burst, from experiencing so much beauty and love in God! I remember feeling this way on the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel last summer. My goodness, so much love! The recent religious experience I mentioned also felt this way...my heart felt so open to God's love as well as my mind felt open and expanded as I understood what God was asking of me. Left me in a daze for the rest of the day!
It took me a long time to realize that this vocation as wife and mother and homeschool mother WAS my calling, not a temporary one, but THE one. I am trying to grasp on and be grateful each day more now that I have a 4 year old again. It's like a second chance at this.ReplyDelete
Michelle, thank you so much for sharing this - you have touched my heart.ReplyDelete
I was 17 when I first felt God calling me, too. I wanted to hear Him, and at the same time I wanted to close my ears and hum!! I married at 22, and from the wonderful fruits of my marriage and motherhood (and now grandmotherhood), I know that this was the vocation in which God was truly calling me to serve Him. But I spent too many years letting the seed wither, just because I was afraid of really listening to Him. Thank God for His amazing patience and love!
I will keep you in prayer as you continue to discern your vocation, and I'm awfully glad you're here with us!
Patty, your vocation (and mine) is such an important one.... if it were not for holy marriage and parenthood, how would there be anyone to fill the cloisters?! :) Not to mention to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. AND to fill heaven with saints! I once heard a speaker (at a women's meeting) say that we don't know who we're raising in our homes. We just might be raising a pope.ReplyDelete
Nancy, as a convert, I had a bit of a different path. I always felt that motherhood was my ultimate dream and I felt humbled and an immense gratitude when He blessed me so abundantly.ReplyDelete
It's interesting to read other people's experiences of God's love. I always feel I'm the only one when I get those emotions! ;-)
Vicky, isn't it wonderful to know we're not alone in experiencing God's love, and to be able to share it with one another?!ReplyDelete
In striving to seek for and accomplish God's will in my life I have started praying a new prayer daily as of about 5 months ago.. My prayer now is for God to put me where He wants me to be.. Tell me what He wants me to say or do and give me the courage and boldness to do it..
I no longer find myself concerned with being in the wrong place at the wrong time because in trusting God with my life I know that in every situation that is His will, I am exactly where I am meant to be..this is such a freeing and peaceful place to be.. I can truly feel when I am in a situation that is not of my doing that it is God who placed me there at that moment in time.. I can look back and see His hand in it all, and I give Him all the glory....
Thank you, Nancy for your guidance through this Lenten Season.. God bless.
Joy, your words are exactly what I needed to read right now. Precisely. It's amazing. So I am adopting your prayer as my own, and I shall try to 'relax into what God is doing' day by day.Delete
I thank you so much for being His mouthpiece to me today