When we’re discerning a call from God for our lives, we may think it’s all up to us to figure it out. But that’s not the case. The first step is God’s! God calls each person to a life that will develop and fulfill the gifts given to her or him. Just think about this for a moment.
When we’re born, we come with gifts. We are a gift. Our whole lives are meant to exercise the gifts we came with, sharing them with everyone we meet and with everyone to whom we are sent. So, we can relax. God knows we have gifts to share.
In discerning the best way we can share them, we take the time for silent listening to God, for prayer, maybe for journaling. We may at times meet with a mentor or spiritual companion who can help us hear even more keenly what God is asking of us. Our gifts were given for good and for the community.
May we listen well with openness and trust in the Holy Spirit who guides each of us. Count on our prayers of support too.
El Primer Paso
Cuando estamos discerniendo un llamado de Dios para nuestras vidas, podemos pensar que depende de nosotras descifrarlo. Pero ese no es el caso. ¡El primer paso es de Dios! Dios llama a cada persona a una vida para que pueda desarrollar y cumplir con los dones que se le den. Solo piense en esto por un momento.
Cuando nacemos, llegamos con dones. Somos un don. Toda nuestra vida está destinada a ejercer los dones con los que nacemos, compartiéndolos con todas las que conocemos y con todas a quienes somos enviadas. Así que, podemos relajarnos. Dios sabe que tenemos dones para compartir.
Al discernir la mejor manera en que podemos compartirlos, nos tomamos el tiempo para escuchar en silencio a Dios, para orar, tal vez para escribir en un diario. A veces podemos encontrarnos con una mentora o una compañera espiritual que pueda ayudarnos a escuchar aún más profundamente lo que Dios nos pide. Nuestros dones fueron dados para bien y para la comunidad.
Que podamos escuchar abiertamente y con confianza en el Espíritu Santo que nos guía a cada una de nosotras. También cuente con nuestras oraciones de apoyo.
The season of autumn in the north is traditionally a time marked by letting go. Leaves fall off trees, warmer temperatures depart in favor of cooler ones, and light diminishes as we move steadily toward December’s shortest day of the year. Change affects our human lives as well.
Some people get into the mood of clearing out cluttered closets, drawers, and storage areas at home. Wardrobes change from lighter clothing to warm sweaters, jackets, and long sleeves. In addition to these outward signs of change, there are internal signs of letting go too.
Discerning well is like the season of autumn because it involves letting go and leaving behind some choices. If you’ve made a list of life options available to you, you’ll find yourself crossing some of them off your list. If you’ve taken your top three choices where you feel called in your life and listed pros and cons for each of them, it may be easy to see which one(s) need to be let go next. This, of course, takes time. Then, there’s one more thing.
Unlike the season of autumn when trees let go of their leaves to make room for the new growth, it’s hard to imagine the trees feeling sad about their losses. For us humans, sometimes letting go of what we had thought we might be called to do and taking up another choice, risky or not, may leave us feeling sad. Like the tiny new buds that appear on trees even before the leaves fall, it helps to feel assured that we have discerned well. Now it’s time to try on our choice.
May you live in such confidence and trust,
Carmel Boyle, a popular Irish vocalist, has recorded the song “My Soul’s Desire”, an engaging and foot-tapping melody designed to get us thinking deeply about what we are looking for in life. No, that’s not entirely true. The words of the song ask what you desire and what you think God desires too!
Many spiritual writers have told us that one clue to what God is asking of us – calling us toward – is found in our deep desires, our heart’s desires, or as Ms. Boyle puts it, our “soul’s desire”.
One of the ways to discover what my soul desires can be spending time in quiet, the kind of inner quiet that allows me to really focus and listen deeply for my heart’s response. Pay attention to what you long for, what it is you’re passionate about, what brings you joy and hope. In these longer summer days of light, may you make the time for this kind of quiet and ready yourself to listen for your soul’s desire.
Blessings as you listen,
Beginning this week there are two Co-Directors of Vocations for the Congregation: Sisters Tarianne DeYonker, OP, and Mariane Fahlman, OP.
Sister Mariane is currently a Professor of Kinesiology, Health and Sports Studies at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan where her teaching and research focus on disease prevention through healthy living. She will be reaching out in the metro Detroit area as well as responding to requests from those who are seeking more information on religious life, specifically with the Adrian Dominican Sisters.
Sister Tarianne lives and ministers in Adrian, Michigan and is a social worker with a marriage and family therapy background. She has served in numerous leadership roles not only in the Congregation, but also at Dominican High School and Academy in Detroit, a sponsored ministry of the Congregation, in Beginning Experience International, a grief resolution ministry for separated, divorced and widowed men and women and their children and as a team trainer for Returning to Spirit, a program to bring about reconciliation between the church and those who attended Residential Schools in Canada. During the past year, she has been conducting creative writing workshops in Adrian as well as doing writing of her own. She brings to this new role a listening ear, curiosity about what God is doing in our lives and willingness to try new approaches in response to needs.
We are very grateful to Sisters Sara and Lorraine for all the contributions they have made to Vocation ministry and for how diligently they worked to make these past few months a smooth transition for us. We are comforted in knowing they are only a phone call or email away for help when we need it! We wish them well!
Sisters Tarianne and Mariane
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Sister Tarianne DeYonker, OP
Sister Mariane Fahlman, OP
Adrian Dominican Sisters
1257 East Siena Heights Drive
Adrian, Michigan 49221-1793
Visit the Adrian Vocations Team on Twitter @ASisterReflects
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!