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Friday, April 13, 2007

Timothy Radcliffe / Vocations



I've been reading some articles lately by Timothy Radcliffe, former Master of the Dominican Order, and there's a new one in the latest issue of the online Catholic Herald - Our vocation is to share in God’s happiness. The article, the first in a series, describes vocations, callings and answerings, and while it may seem off topic for those not interested in being a vowed religious, I think it has relevance for anyone who might wonder if their life has a purpose or meaning. Here below is the beginning of the article .....

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In the Church, we sometimes say that everyone has a vocation. But that’s not quite right. It’s more accurate to say that everyone is a vocation. We often think that our existence is a bald fact. But it isn’t. To exist at all is to be called by God. A star would not exist if God had not called it into being. There is a lovely passage in the Book of Baruch where God sees the stars and they joyfully cry out: “Here we are! Here we are!” The stars say “yes” to God. And everything that exists – including our own apparently insignificant lives – is a “yes” to the God who calls.

What’s odd about human beings is that we don’t just say “yes” by existing; we also say “yes” with our words. God speaks a word to us and we reply with words. And that, in fact, is why we were created: to answer God’s word. This human vocation, which we all share regardless of our particular calling, is expressed in the beautiful Hebrew word hineni, which means, “here I am”. When God calls Moses from the burning bush, Moses replies: “Hineni.” When Isaiah hears a voice asking “Whom shall I send?” he replies: “Hineni. Send me.” So, the human vocation is to say “here I am” when God calls.

We live at a time when there is an awful loss of confidence in the meaning of human existence .... Vocations to the priesthood and religious life are a sign that every person is living a story that leads to God. They are signs to people who see their life going nowhere. They may be stuck in boring jobs. Their marriages might be going wrong. They may have been diagnosed with cancer. When they reach these moments of disaster, they ask: “What is the point?” The lives of priests and religious offer an answer. They say: “I have put myself in the hands of God, because I believe my life is heading towards him.” Such vocations are a tremendously vital sign to anybody who feels their life is disintegrating .....

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12 Comments:

Blogger Cura Animarum said...

"Hineni" is a great way to start the day. It's what moves us into being who we really are. I wish there were some way to break through the gloom than enshrouds people's lives and show them that they are stars but I suppose those of us who know can only treat them as such and let Christ do the rest.

1:40 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

I'm one of those gloomy people :-)

Cura, how does one come to believe they are stars?

2:20 PM  
Blogger Cura Animarum said...

What I do? I sit in a park or at the mall or in church and just watch people as they move and as they dance from one thing to the next. As they rush and as they cry and laugh and scream and sigh and try to ignore each other because they're so busy with their 'really important thing'. I watch them until my heart begins to swell for love of them, not for how they look or what they can do for me or how they can make me feel but just becasue they ARE. I watch them until it's all I can do to keep myself from running up and embracing them all.

I watch until I stop seeing with my eyes and start seeing with the eyes God gave me.

Even as I write this I know all this visual stuff isn't really fair to you. And I want to go back and delete it all but then this idea pops into my head that it's only your eyes that have the problem, the eyes God gave you are perfect. They're made for seeing this way.

To put it another way, you don't have to believe they are stars. They will be whether we beieve it or not, it's how God made us. Our challenge is to let ourselves see what God sees.

Happy Easter Crystal.

PS. It took me about 20 mins to get up to courage to hit 'publish' for this. I hope I haven't over-stepped my bounds.

2:47 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Curs,

first, thanks for going theough the effort to write that comment :-)

second, I should have been more straightforward - I really meant, how can I come to believe that I'm worthwhile. That's where my problem lies, I think, in finding some worth in myself.

3:37 PM  
Blogger Cura Animarum said...

I knew what you meant. The answer is pretty much the same. You work at closing your eyes, and letting God look at you with the eyes he gave you.

And this is true too. You are a star whether you believe it or not.

Glad I didn't offend. :o)

6:07 PM  
Blogger Cura Animarum said...

Oh...and seeing others that way really does help you become aware of it in yourself. God's touched us all the same.

6:07 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Thanks, Cura. No worries about offending me, what you wrote was lovely and kind and appreciated :-)

6:37 PM  
Anonymous Mike L said...

Crystal, maybe someday you will find out haw many people have been touched by your warmth and brightness. I certainly cannot tell you how many times you have brightened my day with something that you have published on your blog, how many times you have been a a brilliant spot of light on a dark day.

I have often marveled at the breadth of your interests and knowledge. Your ability to come up with interesting information, like this posting, is just amazing to me.

I also think that you have gathered a wonderful group of people around you on this blog, and I don't think that would have happened if you weren't special.

I know a little of your problems from the bits and pieces you have written, and despite all of that you have remained a sweet person. That along makes you very special.

I like what Cura said, look with the eyes that God gave you. And it seems to me that you also need to look at the right mirror. Sometimes we only look in the mirror that shows us the bad things about us, and not the one that shows all the good things. To often we assign high values to our faults, and low values to our virtues. Makes it rather difficult to balance the books when we do that.

Ask the people on your blog how they picture you, and then at least be willing to say that it might be possible that they are right when they tell you the good things about you.

Sometimes I just have to repeat over and over "This is the day the Lord has made, Rejoice and be glad."

And last, if you are that precious to me, think how much more precious you must be to God. Your light really does shine fourth.

Hugs,

Mike L

7:09 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Wow, Mike! Thank you! If I looked in a mirror right now, I'd see someone blushing :-)

1:03 AM  
Anonymous Mike L said...

Could be you're blushing, but while looking notice that the qualities I mentioned ARE there. You really are very special.

Hugs,

Mike L

6:33 AM  
Blogger Liam said...

I can only second the eloquent comments by CA and Mike.

11:28 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:50 AM  

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