Transitioning to Religious Life: One Postulant’s Story

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This Way of Life Fulfills Me. I am Very Happy.

 

Only God would use lung cancer as a opportunity to offer a vocation.

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Catholic Sisters in Their Own Words



God calls unlikely people. He always has. What surprised these young women about their vocations?

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What Is God’s Purpose for My Life?

I know people who search for “God’s plan” for their lives all the time. They spend days in prayer, “seeking the Lord” over what they should do next.

I am not criticizing that or even commenting on it except to say that I know there are people who approach things this way. My way of walking with God is much more passive. My experience has been that if God wants me to do something, He’ll tell me. In fact, if God wants me to do something, He’ll pursue me. I won’t be able to get out of it.

I’m not someone who has ever hungered to do great missions for the Lord. I am so grateful that He forgave me and lets me be part of Him. That is enough for me. All I want is just to live my life in His grace, and when I die to get my toe onto the lowest rung of Purgatory. I trust Him completely with my life. I’ve been in the palm of His hand since the moment I was conceived, and I will be in those same hands through the passage of death and onwards through eternity.

However, as I said, there are those who “seek the Lord” asking for a ministry or cause. This video is for them. It’s also for all of us in that it gives some good common sense Christian guidelines for discerning how to live, whatever you do.

For instance, if you feel that the Holy Spirit is leading you in directions that oppose 2,000 years of Church teaching, then you need to do some more honest praying. It’s time for you to listen to God instead of telling Him.

The only vocation I ever prayed for was the vocation of motherhood. God gave that to me, but after a time of trial and sorrow. Then he has added other, complimentary vocations on top of it. He took me out of the world and let me spend wonderful years as a full-time wife and mother. Then, He put me back in the world where I “mothered” a broader swath of people … my constituents.

Now, he’s leading me beyond that.

God does not waste anything about us, including our deepest sins. He doesn’t obliterate our sinful acts or undo them. He transforms our weakness and our sinfulness into an instrument of His purpose.

But before He will do this, He first puts us through a deep-cleaning, a personal Gethsemane. I suffered deeply in this period when I faced the full horror of my sins. God gave me the gift of letting me see who I really was and what I had done. He removed the self-protective illusions of being a good person that I had sheltered behind and let me see the depth of my own depravity.

I think sometimes that the people who are praying for God to use them do not know that before He can use you, He has to first break you of your self-sufficiency. They think they’re good to go just as they are.

Active vocation is not a higher blessing that simply being still in the Lord. The most generous gift the Lord ever gave me was those years at home, removed from the spotlight, with my husband and babies.

Never forget that our first vocation is just to let Him love us.

Enjoy the video.

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The Beauty of Being a Nun

Young nuns talk about their vocations.

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To Be a Priest

Young seminarians and priests discuss what their vocation means.

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Lila Rose, Live Action Founder, Describes Her Call and Vocation

“We’re not meant to be passive people of faith, we’re meant to use our gifts for God.” Lila Rose, Founder of Live Action

If I sat up late trying to think of a definition of the universal call to vocation that goes out to every Christian, I could do no better than Lila Rose’s statement above.

We are, all of us, every single one of us, called to use our talents for God. That does not necessarily mean jumping publicly into the mouth of a policy volcano like abortion. That’s what Lila Rose did, and she’s had quite an impact with her work.

Every Christian vocation, if it is based on a surrender of our self to God and lived out fully, will contribute its part to bringing the Kingdom. I’ve often said that the mother sitting in the bathroom with a croupy baby while the shower runs is closer to Jesus than any of the splashier Christians out there. I believe this.

Every man and woman who has children should never forget that they already have a vocation that is more important than any other. There is no higher vocation than raising your own children.

Even that is not our first vocation. The first vocation of every Christian is to be loved by God. He does not love us for what we can do for Him. He loves us for ourselves. Christian vocation should begin with that. If you don’t understand that, you can not succeed as a Christian, no matter how hard you work at it, for the simple reason that you will inevitably come around to believing that the results of your efforts are your responsibility and that they are how you can “earn” God’s love.

The failure to understand that He loves us for ourselves alone and that the results of our work for Him are not our province leads to many evils. I believe it is part of what entices so many Christians who get into politics to ultimately give in to the pressures and begin to do evil in order to try to achieve good. They’ve forgotten that they don’t need to earn His love, that, in fact, they can’t earn it. They don’t remember that they are not called to succeed. They are called to be faithful.

Our first vocation is to let God love us. Our second vocation is to do whatever tasks are put in front of us for the Lord. If you are a nurse, remember that your patients’ father is the Lord. If you teach school, teach your students as if they were His children. If you are a father or mother, care for those little ones as if they were God’s children, as well as yours.

Because, in fact, they are, you are, we all are. We were made to love, and we need to do our daily tasks with that understanding.

Christian vocation is the leaven, the mustard seed, the Kingdom-bringing work that God has entrusted to us for our time in this life. It isn’t something we do to get Him to love us. It isn’t a way of earning bigger rewards from our heavenly Daddy in hopes He’ll love us best. Christian vocation is just one way of loving Him back.

We are, in the words of Lila Rose, not meant to be passive people of faith. We are not meant to bury our gifts in a tight little world of private piety. Our calling is to live our lives and do our work as if we were doing it for the Lord, and by that, to change the world.

A CNA article describing Lila Rose’s speech to the Catholic Information Center says in part:

Lila Rose speaks at The Catholic Information Center Jan. 17, 2012. Credit: Addie Mena/CNA.

Washington D.C., Jan 19, 2013 / 06:02 am (CNA).- Prayer, trust and a willingness to be used by God are among the most important tools in working to defend the dignity of every human life, said Lila Rose, founder of the pro-life organization Live Action.

“When we say ‘yes’ to His will, it will take us on an adventure that we could have never imagined,” Rose said in the Jan. 17 talk at the Catholic Information Center in Washington, D.C.

A 24-year-old Catholic convert, Rose was raised in a large, pro-life family. She discovered the truth about abortion at age 9, when she found a book about the procedure in her parents’ house.

The experience stuck with her, and as she learned more about the scourge of abortion through the words of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, she “couldn’t think of a greater injustice” facing the world.

Feeling called by Christ to care for the “least of these,” especially, “our unborn brothers and sisters,” Rose turned to God, asking Him to “use me somehow to save some lives.”

“We’re not meant to be passive people of faith,” Rose said, explaining that “we’re meant to use our gifts for God.”

A combination of prayer and surrender to the will of God led Rose to start what would become Live Action – a group dedicated to exposing the abuses and lies of the abortion industry – at age 15 with a group of friends in her parents’ living room.

When Rose went to UCLA for her undergraduate degree, she took Live Action with her. Finding few resources for pregnant women on campus, she conducted her first undercover operation, pretending to be pregnant to see whether the university health clinic would be supportive of her having a baby.

The clinic workers pushed strongly for abortion, while telling her that she may not receive any support if she chose to keep her baby. Rose wrote about this experience in “The Advocate,” a publication that she founded, which now has a national collegiate circulation of more than 200,000 readers.

Rose then went undercover at her local Planned Parenthood, posing as a young teenager who was the victim of statutory rape. She secretly filmed the visit, in which clinic employees agreed to help cover up the rape. (Read more here.)

Join the Discussions of the Year of Faith

Click here throughout the Year of Faith, as the Catholic Channel at Patheos.com invites Catholics of every age and stripe to share what they are gleaning and carrying away from this gift of timely focus.

We’re in the Efforts Business, God is in the Results Business

My friend Judge Twyla Gray died a year ago last October after a twenty year battle with breast cancer.

A few months before she died, she gave this speech at TEDxOKC.

Twyla and I were first elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives together in 1980. She and her husband, Charles, set up the blind date that kicked off the courtship between me and my husband. Twyla was a brilliant woman whose career ultimately led her to spend many years as a District Judge.

She was also a prayerful Christian and a devoted wife and mother.

I think her comments here say quite a lot about vocation in this life.
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Vocation: Whatever You Do, Do It For the Lord and Don’t Worry About the Consequences

Vocation

 

Today is the beginning of Vocations week.

Many people have a particular vocation. Some people are called to a vowed life as a priest or religious. Others are called to marriage or to create a lay ministry. While these particular vocations are a great gift to all of us, there is a spiritual danger in over-emphasing them. The danger lies in the fact that an over-emphasis on particular vocations can make us forget the first and universal vocation of all Christians.

Whatever we do, if we are Christians, we all have the one overarching vocation of accepting God’s love and living in the light of eternity. We are destined for greater things than whatever we do in the here and now. This life is just a prelude for us. However, it is an important, defining prelude.

Our call as Christians is, first and foremost, to live our lives in the acceptance of His transforming love. Our first job is to say “yes” to the God Who made us, Who died for us and Who calls us to Him until we come home.

I have experienced this call. Every single day of the 17 years of my anti-God period, He called me. It was a pull that never stopped or wavered, no matter what I did or said to the contrary.

Our first and essential vocation as Christians is to simply say “yes” to this call. Our most important vocation is the vocation of beloved children of a loving God.

Everything else flows from that. We are Christians and our first and primary vocation is to let Him love us and to live in the flow of that love. We don’t have to spend hours and days of our lives “discerning God’s will for our lives.”

My experience has been that if God wants you to do something, you’re not going to be able to get out of it. So don’t worry about it.

Who, me?

The God Who called you from death to life can and will call you to any work He has for you. You don’t have to go chasing after Him. He’s right there with you, all the time.

So relax. Accept and believe that living in His love is your vocation. He will use you as He wishes if you just do what He tells you. But first you have to live humbly in that love and walk faithfully in the “yes” you said when you gave yourself to Him.

Your vocation, whether your are a priest, bishop, nun, monk, or housewife, is to live your life and do your deeds as a Christian. If you are an attorney, then your vocation as a Christian is to be an honest, hard-working and generous Christian attorney. If you are a policeman, your job is to never cut corners, never lie, follow the evidence without trying to alter it to fit your ideas, and be an honest, hard-working Christian policeman. Whatever you do, your job, your vocation, is to do the work in front of you as if you were doing it for Christ the Lord, because in fact, you are.

Any job a true Christian puts his or her hand to is a vocation if they do it for the Lord. But the glossiest, most high-profile ministry is dust that blows away with the slightest breeze if they do it for themselves. Our vocation is to live in His love and to follow Him. All the rest will come to us if we do that.

In my opinion, the highest vocation any of us can know is not founding some ministry. It is raising our own children. If you are a father or a mother, then your first vocation in this life is to protect, shape and love the precious lives God has entrusted to you. It is your vocation before God to bring them into a productive and Christian adulthood. If you don’t take care of your own children, nothing else you do in life matters all that much.

Family is eternity work. It is also the dearest blessing in this life.

Today is the first day of vocations week. If you are a Christian, your first and most important vocation is simply letting God love you from death into life. Your second step in that vocation is to follow Him all your days. The third is to do the work that is in front of you in the light of that love and that followership. Whatever you do, do it for the Lord and don’t worry about the consequences. He will take care of that part.

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Co-Worker Introduced John Paul II to His Priestly Vocation

God can use any of us to deliver His message.

A case in point is the charming story of how John Paul II first received his call to the priesthood from a co-worker. This story of how God uses each of us to His purpose is a good one for us to ponder in this Year of Faith. How does God use you in your daily life to bring His light into the world?

The CNA/EWTN News story describing what happened reads in part:

Rome, Italy, Jan 11, 2013 / 03:02 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- One of the closest collaborators of Blessed John Paul II, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, recounted in Rome a little-known story about the late pontiff’s vocation to the priesthood.

Cardinal Re served at the Vatican Secretary of State and later prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.

On Jan. 9 at the Conciliaziones Auditorium – during the presentation of the recital “The Pope and the Poet,” inspired by the life of Karol Wojtyla – he recalled an unpublished episode from the life of the late pontiff.

The cardinal told reporters that in 1939, young Karol Wojtyla had to quit college and work at a quarry to support himself and keep from being deported to Germany.

“There he worked with a miner who set explosives in the mines, and one day the miner told him, ‘I think you would make a great priest.’”

“John Paul II told us that until that moment he had never thought of being a priest. He said, that man who I worked with already saw me as a priest,” Cardinal Re said. (Read more here.)

Join the Discussions of the Year of Faith

Click here throughout the Year of Faith, as the Catholic Channel at Patheos.com invites Catholics of every age and stripe to share what they are gleaning and carrying away from this gift of timely focus.


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