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CALL TO MIND GOD’S CALL
E-VOCATION NEWSLETTER
SEPTEMBER 2018 VISION E-Vocation Newsletter


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Divine design: The holiness of place
Where do you pray? Hopefully anywhere and everywhere! But it helps to have special places set aside from the distractions of everyday life to get into a prayerful state.
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The Canticle Prayer Room at Chiara Center of the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis in Springfield, Illinois.

AMONG THE MOST PERSONAL questions to ask someone is surely: How do you pray? What’s your formula for a successful encounter with the Holy Unseen? Possible answers to this question number about 7 billion, depending on the current count of the living.

While prayer is a kind of communication, it’s rarely about the words. Prayer is, most vitally, a mode of relationship. Of course it involves God, but just as essentially, it includes human actors. Prayer is communal as much as solitary. What we do in the hour of prayer, we do together: across the planet, across centuries, across countless walls and circumstances that vie to keep us apart.

Where do we pray? Everywhere we can! Since prayer is rooted in intention, our decision to pray is the doorway to sacred space. Cathedral or parlor, forest or back stoop, we arrive in the presence of the Eternal just the same. Vast caverns of consecrated space may enhance the experience, literally drawing our eyes and hearts heavenward. Yet intimate interiors invite the inward journey, where the indwelling Spirit waits. Wherever this activity takes us, the results are not about getting it right, not at all about having a mystical experience that’s one for the hagiographies. Quite simply, in this space, we find our place. When we pray, we are surrounded and held, yet liberated and boundless. Here, we know who God is, and who we are.

The places we choose to pray are hardly random. An element of invitation is characteristic of sacred space. A bench that calls our name. An open door. A beckoning tree. A window opening wide on natural wonder. A holy image that takes us by the hand, or perhaps the heart, with its benevolent gaze. We feel the spiritual saturation of a place that’s frequently prayed in. Sometimes you can see the worn stones where many knees have knelt. More often it’s just a quality of the air: buoyant, yet reverent. Sacred places aren’t just pretty interiors, or grand vistas—although beauty can be enough to launch us into the attitude of praise.

Sacred space is expectant. It is hospitable space that feels prepared for our arrival. It ignites the fire in our prayer, drawing the faithful and the curious alike. The play of light may exalt our prayer, or we may find consolation in the sheltering darkness. Our prayer may be vocalized, or we may plummet into mothering silence. Whatever our prayer becomes, it is never an end, but only a beginning. 

—Alice Camille

View more prayer spaces here.

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Discernment Matters
The choices of a lifetime
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TAKE THE LEAD

Each year, the church celebrates the gift of leadership. We have World Day for Consecrated Life (Feb. 2), Feast of the Chair of Peter (Feb. 22), Good Shepherd Sunday (fourth Sunday of Easter), Priesthood Sunday (last Sunday in October), and Vocation Awareness Week (first full week in November). These observances remind us of our debt to good leadership, and how we need thoughtful, idealistic women and men to step up and lead the church into the future.

What we probably don’t need more of, however, are mere managers. According to Harvard professor John Kotter, our generation suffers from being over-managed and under-led. Managers oversee the status quo. They plan and budget, organize and staff, control and problem solve. They curate the collection of ideas already in play. They have no intention of changing a thing. Which is troublesome, since change is a constant in our rapidly advancing world.

What do leaders do? They set the direction for others to follow. They work in concert with their constituencies, not simply their staffs. Leaders don’t aim to keep the machinery well oiled, haplessly responding to obstacles as they arise. Instead, leaders initiate action. They’re captains of a ship in full sail toward a definite and obtainable future.

To envision what real leaders look like, consider religious founders. They took the pulse of their generation, identified a need, and pressed forward in league with others who shared their vision. Anyone out there have a bright idea for the church? Want to be a leader?

—Alice Camille,
reprinted with permission from TrueQuest Communications

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Editors are standing by

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 jenniferrebecca@truequestweb.com.

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© 2018, TrueQuest Communications
published on behalf of the National Religious Vocation Conference
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