Thursday, September 25, 2008

Off to Richmond...

Tomorrow, Katie and I head off to Richmond to begin the academic portion of formation for the permanent diaconate. 48 other men, their wives, pastors and instructors will all be there. Our bishop will celebrate Mass, and then join us for dinner. The next day, our class in The History, Theology and Spirituality of the Diaconate will begin. I have already finished the reading, and my head is awash with thoughts and questions about the sacramentality of the diaconate, what it means to have a vocation, and what has God gotten me into!!! I can only imagine how powerful an experience it will be to gather with so many people who are all involved in discerning a calling to the same vocation!

Jen F. over at Conversion Diary has some wonderful thoughts on this whole topic of vocation. Her thoughts we very helpful to me:

A couple years ago some Catholic readers responding to this post introduced me to the concept of "vocation," that every single person is called to one of the vocations that God has given us -- the most common being married life, the priesthood or consecrated religious life -- and that each of us is to discern to which vocation we are called. What I found most interesting about this whole concept (and, frankly, shocking and slightly disconcerting at the time), is that your life's vocation isn't as much what you do as much as it is whom you serve. This worldview basically said that each of us is put on this earth to serve others, and your vocation is simply a matter of discerning whom you'll serve and how you'll serve them. In other words, there is no living for yourself. There's no optimizing your entire life around what you feel like doing.


What I realize now is that I completely misunderstood the concept. I came to see that this worldview is not an expression of absolutes, but of prioritization. To live a life of service does not mean that you never take time for yourself; it means that taking time for yourself isn't the entire meaning of life. It does not mean that you turn your hopes and dreams over to the dustbin; it means you turn them over to God.

It was only very hesitantly that I put this concept into practice in my life. Slowly I began to embrace the fact that the defining purpose of my life is to be a wife and mother, that to serve my husband and my children and my parents and the world around me was what God wanted me to do...that it was even what he wanted me to do far more than write great articles or books or blog posts (even if those articles and books and blog posts were in an effort to bring glory to him). It was one of my first big exercises in trusting God to accept this premise that selfless service of others is objectively a higher life priority than seeking personal gain.

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