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Archives God has a hope, a dream for each of us

April 18, 2018

By Sister Bernadette Collins, SSJ
Episcopal Delegate for Religious

Since Vatican II a better understanding of the sacrament of Baptism has helped us to understand that God “hasRev. Bryan Stitt a hope, a dream, a vocation for each one of us…”

Before we can begin to respond to God’s call, however, one thing must be present in our hearts. That one thing is conversion to Jesus Christ which is a turning away from self.

This turning away from self is not to put ourselves down but to open us up to the fullness of life in Christ.
This conversion is the call to holiness, a call to goodness, beauty, and truth which is love.

Each of us receives this call or vocation to love – without exception. This call to a personal relationship with Jesus is like any other relationship. It is a process, an ongoing, life-long process. It needs to be nurtured and renewed daily. 

How do I know the way that God is calling me to grow in my relationship with Him, the way He is asking me to serve Him?

First, God must have some significance in one’s life. God needs to be more than just head knowledge, or we won’t be able to recognize God’s call. We won’t’ be aware of that gentle whisper and consequently we won’t be able to respond to His invitation because we will not have fostered a significant relationship with the Lord.

Growing in our faith must be preeminently as important as our intellectual and emotional growth and our physical well-being. In other words, God, Jesus, the Spirit must have first place in our daily lives until the day we die.

Another sign of a vocation is the awareness of an urgent or important need. God invites each of us to respond to a particular need.

The third sign or way of knowing that God is calling us to a course of action is when we recognize that we cannot meet a goal or need on our own. None of us has the insights and wisdom needed to meet all the challenges before us. We need community; we need each other. We need God’s presence in our lives. Lt’s all about relationships!

A fourth sign of a vocation is that it always involves a leaving. There must be a conversion, a turning away from self to the other, a leaving behind of my own agenda or preferences to respond to the needs of others.

Ultimately it is a turning to God and acknowledging my need.

The last sign that a course of action is God’s desire for us is that it must be incorporated into the mission of the Church. There needs to be some manifest evidence that the course of action is being done out of love and in conformity with the Church’s mission.

In the words of Pope Francis: Dear Friends, in the First Letter of St. Peter we hear this exhortation: As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace. Whoever preaches, let it be with the words of God; whoever serves, let it be with the strength that God supplies, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ(4.10-11). Here is the call to holiness! Accept it with joy, and let us support one another, because we do not travel the path to holiness by ourselves, no, each on their own, but together, that one body which is the Church, loved and made holy by the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us go forward with courage on this path toward holiness.

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