Listening To The Still Small Voice

Sr. Sarah Heger, CSJ and her grade 5 class

Ah, but how to give oneself away? How do we discover what our particular self-gift, our vocation, is? Or, to put it another way, how do we discern the will of God for us?
— Michael Himes: “Doing the Truth in Love – Conversations about God, Relationships, and Service”

Listening to how I am being called is sometimes difficult. I may seem to be “hearing” many “conflicting voices” through my human hopes and desires, experiences and even in my prayer. But this isn’t something new. St. Thérese of Lisieux experienced this sort of conflict. She said: ” I feel the vocation of the warrior, the priest, the apostle, the doctor, the martyr”. Eventually, she concluded that while all of the calls she “heard in her heart” were important and attractive, some were not possible for her and in the end, although various possibilities did exist, ONE primary way (St. Therese was a Carmelite nun) was the BEST way for her. Ultimately, she concluded that the foundation of all vocation was Love, “I understood that love comprised all vocations, that love was everything, that it embraced all times and places … in a word, that it was eternal.” So perhaps a good starting point to begin my discernment of personal call is to ask the following questions:

How can I BEST be loved?
How can I BEST love?

Note the emphasis on “BEST”! Try asking the above questions as you reflect upon the various expressions of vocation open to you in the Church today. Keep in mind that vocation is not only about doing but more importantly, about who you are and who you are becoming ( I don’t have to be perfect to get started!). Vocation touches on and embraces every level and dimension of your life; family, friendship, personality, education, loves, passions and interests, hopes and dreams, time and talents, past and present experiences, gifts and limitations etc. Given these realities or gifts of God in your life: How can you BEST be loved? How can you BEST love? Perhaps reflect on a vocation you may never have considered before in light of these questions! Remember our God is a God of surprises! Prepare to be surprised by God!