By Sister Lisa Maurer
Isn’t it something? Scientists cannot really explain how life began on our planet. Most agree that life began more than 3 billion years ago, but just how it began is an elusive unknown. One scientific theory is based on a spark of electricity. Another gives credit to aliens. As people of faith, we know that God is the creator and author of life. But how the first living organisms exactly appeared in still a mystery.
|Sister Lisa Maurer
Maybe the same can be said about vocations. They are a mystery. No one can really explain how one begins. Surely every sister, brother, or priest has been asked, “How did your vocation start?” I have been asked that question myself. I do not look to scientific theories of extraterrestrials or big bangs for an explanation. Rather, I often answer with stories about an upbringing in a Catholic family and attending Catholic school. I talk about the witness and example of holy religious like my fourth-grade teacher and the administrator of the nursing home I worked at in high school. But as far as pinpointing where it actually came from, I do not know what to say other than it is what God has planted.
Deep inside every person is a desire to do something important, to be something to someone, and to make a difference. The vocations that God plants within us are fulfilling that desire. Here some ways to tend to what God has planted.
Trust that you were created for a purpose. It is not your imagination to think that God has planted something special within you. It is true! It is real! God loved you into being, has had a plan for your life and wants to reveal it to you. We need to believe like St. John Henry Newman, who wrote: “God has created me to do him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another.”
Accept God’s love. Pope St. John Paul said that every vocation is an extraordinary gift of God’s love. A vocation is not some command or mandate to be robotically followed. It is an invitation to love! Really, it is! Tending to what God has planted is to open up to God’s love and in turn be willing to share that love with others.
Listen and pray. Since a vocation is not our will but something planted by God, we must attune ourselves to God’s voice so that we can hear his call. Prayer is how we primarily listen to God’s voice. Oftentimes we know we should pray but don’t know how. Don’t worry! Just do it! The Lord longs to be with you in prayer and will help you.
Cooperate with God. Even once we know of God’s love and desire for our happiness, it is not uncommon to feel unable or unwilling to give ourselves completely to him. Even when we start to see the fruit of what God has planted, we are afraid to move forward. We cannot let that stop us! We must be ready and willing to work with God in trust and confidence.
If you or someone you know believes they are being called to life as a Benedictine (sister, oblate, live-in associate, volunteer), call Sister Lisa at (218) 723-7011, email [email protected], or visit www.duluthbenedictines.org/vocations.