We humans fret a lot about what God might want us to do with our lives, as if we’re in a powerful guessing game and we must get it right or else. There is no need to fret and no need to guess what God is thinking. When we pay attention to our deep desires, we discover the purpose of our lives. The challenge is to know ourselves well enough that we become aware of our deepest desires in life.
This is where prayer and quiet are invaluable. A wise guide, mentor, or spiritual director can help as well. God created us out of love so we can love. God’s desire for us is to be able to love in the best ways possible throughout our lives. Whether as a single person, or with a spouse through married life, or serving with others in a community in religious life, it doesn’t matter to God. Discernment helps us sort through our choices and find what fits best.
God desires our happiness and the fulfillment of our gifts, given for sharing in whatever community we choose. If you haven’t thought about how you desire to share God’s love with the world, I encourage you to investigate. Don’t assume you know. Ask yourself, “What is my deep desire?” Explore options for your life. Pay close attention. Talk with and listen to others. Don’t eliminate options too soon. Give yourself a chance to explore.
If you think you would benefit by a weekend of discernment, please consider the “Come and See” weekend in November 8-10 here in Adrian. You can register online.
The Sisters pray for your discernment,
El Emparejamiento de Deseos
Como humanas nos preocupamos mucho de lo que Dios quiere que hagamos con nuestras vidas, como si estuviéramos en un poderoso juego de adivinanzas y debemos hacerlo bien o ya veremos! No hay necesidad de preocuparse ni de adivinar lo que Dios está pensando. Cuando prestamos atención a nuestros deseos más profundos, descubrimos el propósito de nuestras vidas. El desafío es conocernos lo suficientemente bien como para que nos demos cuenta de nuestros profundos deseos en la vida.
Aquí es donde la oración y la solemnidad tienen mucho valor. Una guía sabia, mentora, o directora espiritual también nos puede ayudar. Dios nos creó por amor para que podamos amar. El deseo de Dios para nosotras es poder amar de la mejor manera posible a lo largo de nuestras vidas. Ya sea como una persona soltera o con un cónyuge a través de la vida matrimonial o sirviendo con otras en una comunidad en la vida religiosa, no le importa a Dios. El discernimiento nos ayuda a clasificar nuestras elecciones y encontrar lo que sea más adecuado.
Dios desea nuestra felicidad y el cumplimiento de nuestros dones, dados para compartir en cualquier comunidad que elijamos. Si no ha pensado en cómo desea compartir el amor de Dios con el mundo, la animo a investigar. No asuma que lo sabe. Pregúntese: "¿Cuál es mi deseo profundo?" Explore las opciones para su vida. Preste mucha atención. Hable y escuche a las demás. No elimine las opciones ligeramente. Dese la oportunidad de explorar.
Si cree que se beneficiaría con un fin de semana de discernimiento, considere el fin de semana “Come and See” en Noviembre 8-10 aquí en Adrian. Puede registrarse en línea.
Las hermanas rezan por su discernimiento,
This past Sunday’s Gospel (Mark 7:31-37) lured me into thinking about being deaf to certain sounds, select voices and deeper versus higher-pitched tones. Granted the person Jesus met in the Gospel story was physically deaf, but many of us practice a kind of deafness in our everyday lives. Some people name it “selective hearing,” i.e. hearing certain things and being deaf to others.
Moms and dads apply selective hearing when they are tuned in to the slightest noises coming from a newborn baby sleeping in another room or when they catch the sound of coughing from a sick child during the night. Students often hear what they need to do to pass a test and don’t hear what to do for homework that night. In the busy-ness of everyday lives and with all the noise of the world around us, we almost have to have selective hearing in order to survive in it.
The same listening qualities that alert parents to possible danger for their children are true for our selective hearing when it comes to hearing God’s voice. You might rightly say, “God’s voice isn’t a human voice one would hear in a normal way.” That’s true. God’s “voice” makes a unique “sound,” an echo that resonates in our hearts, is heard by our inner ears, if you will. This is why our listening and paying close attention is so key. May we quiet ourselves enough today to hear God’s voice within us. May we allow its message to move us.
Blessings as we listen,
Christine Valters Paintner, in her book The Soul’s Slow Ripening: 12 Celtic Practices for Seeking the Sacred, says, “Discernment is essentially a way of listening to our lives and the world around us and responding to the invitations that call us into deeper alignment with our soul’s deep desires and the desires God has for us.”*
With that description in mind, how do we enter that space of quiet where the “way of listening” she mentions is possible? Once we slow down and stop for awhile, our thoughts don’t necessarily stop with us. They keep going and we can count on multiple distractions invading that space! They might sound like: “I’ve got to get going.” “I can’t just sit here like this!” “I have things to do.” “This is a waste of time; nothing’s happening!”
Try sitting in a chair, feet on the floor, hands resting comfortably in your lap and begin breathing slowly, in and out. Count the breaths if that helps. Count them while focusing your attention on each breath until you begin to notice your breathing gradually slows more and more. This intentional quieting each day, even for ten minutes at a time, will begin to develop a pattern in our thoughts. We will start to notice something different is happening. Our thoughts will take their cue from our breathing and also slow down.
Thoughts will never be totally erased from our quiet time. But being intentional about taking time everyday to become familiar with this sacred space within will set the stage for our best and deepest listening to God’s voice within.
*Excerpted from The Soul’s Slow Ripening: 12 Celtic Practices for Seeking the Sacred by Christine Valters Paintner. Copyright 2018 by Ave Maria Press, P.O. Box 428, Notre Dame, IN 46556. Used with permission of the publisher.
In a few days I will be heading for my annual retreat. I usually choose to do silent, directed retreats. The chance to be completely quiet, except for the forty minutes each day with a spiritual director, helps me to go much deeper. It enables me to get more connected in that place deep within where God dwells.
Even though it’s not always an easy time, I always look forward to these “vacations with God” with excitement, knowing that God and I will have some extra focused time to nourish our relationship. By now I know that, even though I may be in the same retreat house, I will be surprised by God. God accepts me where I am, and at the same time offers me what is needed. Sometimes it’s comfort, sometimes it’s a chance to slow down, sometimes it’s a nudge, and sometimes it’s a push.
Even though it can sound like a retreat is just about “me and God” it’s always bigger than that. First, I always spend much more time in nature and so become more attuned to God’s grace in all creation and more aware of myself as one of God’s creatures in a much larger reality. Also, what happens in the retreat can remain with me throughout the year and can help to transform my relationships with others.
If you are discerning something in particular, a retreat can be a wonderful way to clear away all the extras for a time and focus on listing to the voice of God’s wisdom. Retreats have played an important role in my own journey to religious life. These special times also help me nurture that relationship with the One I fully gave my life to. I know God is looking forward to this quality time with me as well!
I pray you are able to have a “vacation with God” this summer!
By Sister Lorraine Réaume, OP
A Sister shared with me that she found it disturbing to watch and keep up with all the terrible things happening in the news. She decided to set a limit to the amount she took in, and she is feeling much better. She does not want to deny what is happening, and she wants to be informed, but she wants balance.
She didn’t say it this way, but perhaps what she was yearning for was some quiet time to hear another voice, the voice of God. Each of us needs to find our own balance. Our news consumption can become compulsive, the constant barrage of loud voices drowning out other voices we need to listen to, within and without. Even without news, we can be very distracted by the constant input of social media and our various devices.
We owe it to ourselves and to our world, both the world immediately around us and the larger global reality, to listen to the range of voices, and to seek moments of contemplation. Only then can we hear the quiet, gentle voice of God nudging us to true life, to faithfulness, to hope. God will guide us how to respond, how to receive, and how to hear good news if we take the time to listen.
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Adrian Dominican Sisters
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Get out your bell-bottoms and platform shoes, because DISCO is here!
Okay, so it's a little less dancing, a little more talking... Sisters Lorraine Réaume, OP, and Sara Fairbanks, OP, have a video series called DISCO (Discernment Conversations): Dancing with the questions of life!