Your life poured out for others
Go with the flow.
YEARS AGO, I took a horseback ride through the mountains of Kerry in Ireland. I had no idea how to ride a horse and spent most of the journey trying to keep my mare out of the brambles. Instead of enjoying the glorious nature around me, I just prayed the ride would end. But then we turned a bend and came across a tiny waterfall. My companions suggested we stop and take a drink. I won’t bore you with details of my pathetic dismount or fear of ever getting back up in the saddle. But I will tell you of the drink I took with cupped hands from that mountain stream. It was a revelation: sweet and pure and wholly refreshing. I felt something change within me. I understood what it meant to feel truly restored. I mark the taste of that water as one of the most deeply spiritual experiences of my life.
Flowing water captures the essence of religious life: The men and women who choose radical discipleship to Jesus have tasted the living water and they are now compelled to pour their lives out for others.
The pages of VISION 2018 are awash with the stories of those poured-out lives. Whether it’s carving pockets of hope for former gang members in Los Angeles, bringing the Eucharist to battlefields in Sudan, or surviving the interior desert experience of novitiate in York, religious sisters, brothers, and priests continually make the choice to drink deeply in the mystery of Jesus and empty themselves for God’s sake in the service of others.
As you discern your vocation, keep the image of restorative water in mind. If you feel invigorated rather than burdened as you contemplate religious life, then odds are you’re on the right path. Be patient; the most satisfying drink of your life awaits you just around the bend.
—Patrice J. Tuohy, VISION Publisher
Other articles to quench your thirst in the 2018 issue:
Lights, camera—convent!, by Sister Boram Lee
Sister Boram Lee started out with a bright career in broadcasting, but direction from God led her to religious life.
Hard road to the monastery, by Ed Langlois
Brother Andre Love battled fierce inner demons before he returned to the church and found his way to religious life.
Tendering God on tough streets, by Carol Schuck Scheiber
“God is always more,” says Father Greg Boyle, S.J., quoting Saint Ignatius of Loyola. Boyle takes the limits off love and has spent three decades extending it to gang members, inviting others to join him.
VISION Spotlight: Word as witness to the Word
Song and verse are among the oldest ways of praising God, and the impulse to be generative is one of the main components of a call to religious life, so it’s not surprising that poets are part of the vast array of creative religious.
Read much, much more in VISION 2018!
The choices of a lifetime
ASKING THE CATHOLIC QUESTION
WHEN THE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH landed in our laps back in 1994, some church leaders thought all of our moral dilemmas were about to be solved. In need of the Catholic answer? Just look it up. I remember our local RCIA leaders insisting that all the information we taught be cross-referenced with the CCC. Catholic editors started asking for this same crosscheck. For a while, it felt like we couldn’t say anything without a parenthetical number next to the idea.
Alas. We quickly discovered that no catechism, no matter how thorough, could do all of our moral homework for us. Life is complex, personal, and evolving. History doesn’t create cookie-cutter scenarios. While we’d like to put our faith in owning “the Catholic Answer,” in pastoral situations it’s often more useful to identify the Catholic Question.
For example: at the present time, the popular slogan is about making America great again. The Catholic Answer is hard to apply here. But the Catholic Question is useful: What’s the measure of a nation’s greatness? Is it economic prosperity or military might? Is it racial purity or religious uniformity? Is greatness a moral quality? Does it involve being compassionate, generous, welcoming? Are peacemakers and bridge-builders greater than those who win conflicts or secure boundaries?
The Catholic Question bores into our complacency. If a nation seeks greatness, then we must ask: Great for what? Great for whom? For some of us, or all of us? Only for us? And who is us?
reprinted with permission from TrueQuest Communications
Cullings from VISION Vocation Network
QUESTIONS CATHOLICS ASK
I don’t read papal documents. What do I need to know about Laudato Si?
Is God a name, like Allah or Jesus?
Learn more about hundreds of religious communities, including:
Sisters of Our Mother of Divine Grace
Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady
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VISION READERS, please let us know what more we can do to help you in your discernment or ministry. We welcome your feedback. Please share your own stories on the positive influence that priests, brothers, and sisters have had on you.
Contact Jennifer Tomshack at firstname.lastname@example.org.