“Empower the laity to focus their God given talents and gifts so they may fully live out the vocation to which God has called them.” St. Vincent Pallotti
by Jenny Beatrice
Doing the Work
I have a hard time deciding what to have for lunch, let alone finding my true vocation in Christ. How do I know what I am doing is fulfilling my purpose as an apostle of God? How do I know that I have shown someone else the face of Christ, even just for a moment?
Over the years, I have put in the work to live out my vocation—earning a degree in religious studies, working in parishes and for church organizations, serving on councils, teaching PSR, organizing adult education, and so on and so on. I used my talents in organizational skills, writing and promotions to make these endeavors a success. I put in my time, talent and treasure. So my work is done, right?
Add on a few more years and I realize my call is taking me deeper, that my vocation is not grounded in the busyness of “doing” but in the silence of “being.” Yes, we still need to take action and be the hands and feet of Christ in this world, but without our hearts as the center of it all, we lose our connection to God within us.
Doing the Inner Work
St. Vincent relied on solitude, silence and prayer to find his God in his own heart, even in the busiest of days as a missionary. The answer to who God calls us to be has already been planted inside us, where we can see ourselves in God’s image. The inner work of contemplation unites our vocation to our outer works.
As a woman, I can’t help but think of the story of sisters Mary and Martha (starring me as Martha). Martha was a busy lady, serving Jesus and the disciples at the home of Lazarus while Mary sat at Jesus’ feet to hear his word. Of course, hard-working Martha was getting a bit irked at lazy Mary but Jesus said, “Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken from her.” (Luke: 10:39-42).
It’s in Your Heart
Jesus tells us that the Word cannot be taken from us—it is already planted in our hearts, ready to take root and grow with a little nurturing. Looking at St. Vincent’s challenge in this way, I feel less pressure and more love —love for me as person who, in the likeness of God, has special gifts and talents that are meant for good in this world. So could that good include organizing events and writing blog posts? Sure, that could be a part of my vocation. But what else lies deep in my heart that I have yet to discover?
St. Vincent models for us the way to find the time and space for the inner work. It will be a challenge with my busy schedule of “doing” to make time for “being.” Maybe I steal a few moments to sit on my lawn chair and listen to the birds. Maybe I get up a few moments before the house starts stirring and read a passage. Maybe I repeat a mantra at all the red lights. Maybe I find the time to go on a retreat. Or maybe I just decide what to have for lunch right away and free my mind for something new to enter my life. Maybe it’s just that simple.
Reflection: Where can you make the time and space in your life to do your inner work?
Reference: Empowered by Love by Pat Jackson, ASC