Tag Archives: discernment

Discerning God’s Will

Recently at the Sunday liturgy we sang “Jesus, Lead Me.” It is not the most powerful or deep or even beautiful of music, but it raised a question for me about how I/we know where it is that Jesus is leading us. Nearly a month ago, I read the book Discernment: Reading the Signs of Daily Life by Henri Nouwen with Michael Christensen and Rebecca Laird. This book is the third of a series (the other two are Spiritual Direction: Wisdom for the Long Walk of Faith, and Spiritual Formation: Following the Movements of the Spirit) …

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The Unfulfilled Vocation

The story goes something like this (and I’m changing some of the details because I haven’t gotten permission from this person to use the story): There was a young man who worked closely with young people and taught them about our Catholic faith. He shared with them about the Church’s teachings on vocation and doing God’s will, and all the while, he felt like he was being called to the married life and, at the same time, that he may never be married. He had discerned religious life and came to realize, through prayer and …

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Hitting the Wall at 80

Hitting the wall at eighty, even if it happens metaphorically, is never easy.  It was a rough Lent.  It seemed to go on forever (as did winter). Wasn’t it at least 100 days long?   We’ve all been there, but for me, an endless procession of intense, grey, days, serious illness and deaths in loved ones, dissertation deadlines, criticism and apathy from others, and random, stupid difficulties added up to an agonizing month. It is not often I feel like I’ve hit the wall and can’t cope – losing things, forgetting more, not sleeping, not even …

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Hear that Call?!

Recently I spent several delightful hours in discussion with a sociologist from OSU concerning the book she is writing on women in alternative food production.  Her questions to me focused on the reasons I and my family live as we do.   My responses to these questions, I realized, kept circling around the idea of vocation – how our lives are to be responses to God’s particular call to each of us.  That’s a hot topic for me – so I appreciated the chance to reflect upon it again! I think that often in our Catholic faith …

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The Way Home is Mysterious

Where is home? Is it just an address where I live? Part of living religious life means a life of going where sent. In the past, Sisters were sent by their superiors. A note or piece of paper was placed at the dinner table, alongside one’s plate-that’s how a Sister would know that she was moving to a new location. In those days Sisters would typically move every two or three years.  Nowadays its more of a personal discernment of God’s call. This personal discernment takes place with the superior and others in the religious …

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Sorry, Yogi!

Yogi Berra of the NY Yankees is quoted as once saying: “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going because you might not get there.”    Now ,I can’t say that I am on intimate terms with Mr. Berra and know exactly what he meant here, but, on the surface, this does appear to be the typical contemporary American belief that all we need to do is to “visualize” what it is we want, and kapowee!  There we are! Perhaps because I am one of those people who seem destined …

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Faith to Move… Me

I like to think of myself as a lilies of the field type person, trusting in God to take care of me. This philosophy has stood me in good stead. I turn my worries, fears and problems to God, and God helps me through. I think that scripture provides many examples of people who did well with this outlook. Abraham trusted in God to provide him descendents. Moses trusted God to help him free the Israelites. Mary trusted God in all things. Sometimes, of course, God makes unexpected requests of those who place their trust …

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“You’ll Always Be Their Favorite Uncle!”

As happens from time to time during seminary formation, doubts and concerns had crept into my prayer.  I was still in college seminary and things were not going as smoothly as I had originally hoped and the prospect of facing six more years of seminary seemed daunting.  Luckily, one of the priests on staff noticed the lack of my usual smile and pulled me aside to chat, mainly to explore what was getting to me. As far as I remember, I think one of my sisters had just had another child and everyone back home …

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