new - Related Content
|Photo credit: www.freeimages.com|
Flying on an airplane is a great way to see life from a new perspective. Things that normally look big around us suddenly appear tiny. The snarling annoyance of sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic is different when we view the same scene from the air. Cars form colorful ribbons across the landscape. Traffic doesn’t change—the transformation is our point of view.
In discernment, it's helpful to look at opportunities from diverse perspectives. We can see things anew. It’s easier to perceive from just one side—looking from different angles can be difficult and reveal callings we don’t want to consider. I've learned in a variety of workshops and retreats it's not just where we stand that determines what we see—who we stand with can also influence what we see. This I’ve heard repeatedly in the context of social justice, but I believe it applies to discernment as well.
Friends and family may offer differing perspectives from which to look at religious life too. Their questions may feel like inquisitions, but usually they want what's best for you. Amazing transformation is possible when articulating your thoughts and feelings to others about the life commitment you’re considering. The ability to express your thoughts may also wake up your heart as to how deep the discernment process has become. You may be surprised to find that what comes out of your mouth has already found a home in your heart.
Discernment requires openness, and considering the decision from a variety of perspectives will be fruitful. Perhaps this is the week to ask yourself (whether you have the opportunity to fly in an airplane or not) ... am I seeing my discernment from new heights? A different point of view?
Have you enjoyed FSPA's Six Word Stories about vocation? Check out our new series, Six Word Mission Stories, beginning with the view from Sister Amy's continuing journey through FSPA ministry.
We invite you to share (post a comment below) your own Six Word Mission Story!
This is the fourth week of Lent; a time to re-examine the intentions you held at the beginning of the season. Have you followed through with your objectives? Have you formed a new habit that has drawn you closer to God, or has the challenge of your desired practice made it permissible in your mind to let the goal go rather than work through the obstacles to achieve it?
Today’s first reading, from the Book of Exodus, serves as an illustration through which to reflect the depths of our own individual behaviors; mannerisms that may lead to the construction of your own molten calf, drawing you away from God and back into comfortable patterns of living. Discovering an idol in your life can be disturbing, but also an opportunity to courageously face the truth of what lies at the core of the issue.
Idols don’t emerge overnight, nor does commitment to continually behold them. Examining the first moments of a dream in which you summoned up your own molten calf may offer insight into how to dispel such symbols. You don’t have to become imprisoned in behaviors that are not life affirming. It is possible to turn your life in all its complexity towards God. God celebrates each time we turn around and begin again, whether it is the first or the 309th time. Transformation is not just a Lenten devotion—it’s a life practice.
In the desert of Scottsdale, Arizona, by Sister Amy Taylor
Discernment is a time of testing and choosing. It is a time to determine the values that will guide you not only in your decision, but also throughout your life. Are you ready to make good on your commitments allowing God--not a stagnant statue of your own creation--to be the form you follow? In times of difficulty will you call to mind God’s unfailing faithfulness and provision, especially when you walk in your own desert moments?
This week, look for the beauty that transformation offers.
Shake off statuesque habits that bind you.
Stretch into the new life that God calls you forth to this Lenten season.
Sometimes we are like spring: indecisive and moody. In one moment calm breezes and blinding sunshine soak into our winter-weary bones. In the next, peals of lightning and ear-splitting thunder rumble through as rain pelts blossoming flowers and awaiting garden plots. I’m overwhelmed by scents of pungent earth, pollen-producing flowers and trees. It is a season when our renewed senses merge as if on cue from some distant stage director for the grandest play opening on the world stage.
Each new bud of life offers a gentle invitation to reflect on the ways in which we are all called into renewed being this Easter Season.
As I take in the beauty of the beginning of the daylilies in the yard, I am reminded of Jesus’ message to depend on our God who presents the flowers as teachers who don’t “toil or spin.” This, for me, is the essence of not only spring but of discernment—trust in God’s providence and stillness of heart. Discerning religious life can’t be rushed for the risk of impulsive decisions possibly destined for regret. The process must take time to unfold. We do not need to funnel our tornadic drive to get things done to the abundance of springtime storms; in the atmosphere inherently unstable. There are moments, in the lengthening light of evening, meant for sitting on the front porch and taking in the greening world around us. There is room for both unpredictability and overwhelming beauty to coexist. It is a time full of discovery and awe.
St. Rose Convent in spring (photo by Nancy Chapman)
As you ponder your own growth in this season of your discernment, take time to celebrate the new life that is emerging.
Where do you see roots taking firmer hold?
What new shoots of life are visible to you now?