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July 6th, 2008

02:28 pm - "Alone with God"
Anyone heard of the site www.vocationsplacement.org ? I signed up a few years ago, and now and then I get these great newsletters. Natalie Smith is also a great vocations director to talk to. Here's one of my recent newsletters:

Title: "Alone With God"
At a famous monastery there is a sign saying, “God Alone”. But do you know that a person can be completely separated from the world and still not be “alone” with God? Do you realize that you can be in the hubbub of Life or in the middle of nowhere or in your room with the “door shut” and be “with God alone?” Are you with God now? I mean, are you with your self (Christ living in you)? Do you know your self? Do you stand by Him without ceasing? Can you hear Him inside of you expressing His joys, sadness, confusions, hopes on a moment to moment basis? Do you know Him?
Many saints have said “you know your vocation by knowing your self.” I press the issue because in order to find your vocation you must hear HIM and be brutally honest about what He is saying. Remember the scripture “Depart from me I never knew you.” But yet the person answered back saying, “But didn’t I do great miracles in your name?” So many people I work with are avoiding the responsibility of hearing their own inner Jesus by focusing on other people’s problems. Many are “loving their neighbor “instead” of themselves, NOT “as” themselves.
This is a serious matter, because when we do not show the world that there is something called “vocation” by listening to our own inner Jesus we are fostering hopelessness and failing to be the example to others who are struggling with their own faith. By our entering our vocation we become living examples of the meaning of Life itself and we all know that Life without meaning fosters despair in ourselves and others. By standing firm with Christ within we bring the joy of the “Kingdom of God to earth as it is in heaven.” We bring meaning, and happiness, and Life to others starting with ourselves, pouring forth from our own hearts first, as in the image of the Sacred Heart the light (Love) that God pours forth from within our own depths before it can be seen by others. Listen to your heart, your sacred desires
are a map leading to the birth of hope to the world.
Vocation is like a sacrament. Vocation is a “fountainhead of grace” as is baptism or confirmation. Vocation is too often treated as a sacramental. A sacramental offers a reminder: a sacrament offers divine grace to do the impossible. Our vocation makes it evident to the world that there is a God. By our vocation we are a witness to a divine energy that invites us to participate in the birthing of Love in the world, God’s and our world. Through vocation we will do the impossible: like the Blessed Mother getting pregnant without a man or Jesus rising from the dead. There is no doubt to those around us that God has done through us what the height of human effort could not. So also will it be when you are in YOUR vocation.
The world needs to see your witness to the existence of God operating through vocation, whether it be marriage, religious life, or the priesthood. Do not underestimate the hope and Love others are witnessing through your adherence to your own Inner
Jesus. Out of the allegiance to your own inner Jesus you will then be able truly to listen to other’s Inner Jesus through ministry. But in this newsletter I am exhorting you strongly to minister to your self first (your own Inner Jesus) by taking the time thoroughly to discern what your Inner Jesus wants and feels. In completely owning what you want and feel, you are now “identifying” with Christ not simply “imitating” Him. It is then and only then that it is truly no longer you "living but Christ living in you".

Natalie Smith 1-800-221-1807 For more on vocation see:


Natalie Smith and the Vocations Placement Staff

x-posted to womenvocations and religiousblog 

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March 16th, 2008

08:18 pm
Remember Chris Farley's character, Matt Foley? The "motivational speaker" that used to live in a van down by the river? Well Chris named the character after one of his classmates at Marquette and that classmate later became a priest. Fr. Matt Foley is now about to take a further step and become an army chaplain.

The inspiring story of Fr. Foley's vocation is here:

The citation for the inane side note is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matt_Foley

Have a blessed Holy Week.

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February 24th, 2008

12:31 am - The Grace of the Chair of Saint Peter
Turn, then, once more to the Catholic Church and see how in the Life which she offers, as in none other, there is presented to us a means of fulfilling our end. For it is she alone who even demands in the spiritual sphere a complete and entire abnegation of self. From every other Christian body comes the cry, Save your soul, assert your individuality, follow your conscience, form your opinions; while she, and she alone, demands from her children... the submitting of their judgment, the informing of their conscience by hers, and the obedience of their will to her lightest command. For she, and she alone, is conscious of possessing that divinity, in complete submission to which lies the salvation of humanity. For she, as the coherent and organic mystical Body of Christ, calls upon those who look to her to become, not merely her children, but her very members; not to obey her as soldiers obey a leader or citizens a government, but as the hands and eyes and feet obey a brain. Once, therefore, I understand this, I understand too how it is that by being lost in her I save myself; and that I lose only that which hinders my activity, not that which fosters it. For when is my hand most itself? When separated from the body, by paralysis or amputation? Or when, in vital union with the brain, with every fiber alert and every nerve alive, it obeys in every gesture and receives in every sensation a life infinitely vaster and higher than any which it might, temporarily, enjoy in independence? It is true that its capacity for pain is the greater when it is so united, and that it would cease to suffer if once its separation were accomplished; yet, simultaneously, it would lose all that for which God made it and, saving itself, would be lost indeed... In losing my Individualism I have won my Individuality, for I have found my true place at last. I have lost the whole world? Yes, so far as that world is separate from or antagonistic to God's will; but I have gained my own soul and attained immortality. For it is not I that live, but Christ that lives in me.
-- Monsignor Robert Hugh Benson, quoted from Magnificat

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February 15th, 2008

01:40 pm - Scriptural support for monasticism
I was having a discussion with a Protestant friend, and we were having a debate about where and how the monastic life is explained or supported by the scriptures. He is one of those types that, unless you can show him chapter and verse where some part of Catholic dogma and tradition is supported, he looks at things with some skepticism.

I tried to find a few passages in Matthew and Mark (Matthew 6:25-33 talks about God providing for our needs, and Mark 10:17-31 has Peter saying how he has left everything to follow Jesus, and Jesus tells how he will be rewarded), but to be honest, I'm not as well-versed in the Scriptures as I would like. I know there's no one passage that explains it all.

Are there any specific passages you would cite as providing a Scriptural justification for the monastic life, or is there a book or two you would suggest that I look at to help me? I'm going to show him the Rule of Benedict and see if some of the references therein will satisfy him.
Current Mood: inquisitive

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January 21st, 2008

03:28 am - Quick Update
With a mind to apply moderate effort to achieve something efficacious insofar as vocational discernment is concerned, I've arranged to stay at The Abbey of the Genesee over my spring break, which is in March. I'm really looking forward to it, and I'll share any wisdom I happen to grasp while there, if I can grasp it long enough to get it down on a page.

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January 10th, 2008

04:07 pm - Some Answers to a Few Common Questions about Vocations
By Monsignor Charles M. Mangan at Catholic Online.

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December 8th, 2007

04:22 am - Vow of Poverty
“It is right for the disciple to pray for the necessities of life only for today, since he is forbidden to worry about tomorrow. Indeed, he would be contradicting himself if he wanted to live long in this world, since we pray instead that God’s Kingdom will come quickly.” (De dominica oratione 19:CSEL III, 1, p. 281). There must always be people in the Church who leave everything in order to follow the Lord, people who depend radically on God, on his bounty by which we are fed – people, then, who in this way present a sign of faith that shades us out of our heedlessness and the weakness of our faith.
We cannot ignore the people who trust so totally in God that they seek no security other than him. They encourage us to trust God – to count on him amid life’s great challenges. At the same time, this poverty, motivated entirely by commitment to God and his Kingdom, is also an act of solidarity with the world’s poor, an act that historically has created new standards of value and a new willingness for service and for commitment on behalf of others. (Jesus of Nazareth, Pope Benedict XVI)

In your discernment towards the priesthood or religious life, have you considered the real meaning behind your commitment to simplicity and/or poverty? What does a vow of poverty mean to you?

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December 7th, 2007

11:19 pm - A Chinese Legend
Look at that curve in the River of Ch'i With the green bamboos so luxuriant. — The Book of Songs (Waley)

Once upon a time, in the heart of the Western Kingdom, lay a beautiful garden. And there in the cool of the day was the Master of the Garden wont to walk. Of all the denizens of the garden, the most beautiful and most beloved was a gracious and noble bamboo. Year after year, Bamboo grew yet more noble and gracious, conscious of his Master's love and watchful delight, but modest, and gentle withal. And often, when Wind came to revel in the garden, Bamboo would cast aside his grave stateliness, to dance and play right merrily, tossing and swaying and leaping and bowing in joyous abandon, leading the Great Dance of the Garden which most delighted the Master's heart.

Read the legend.Collapse )

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November 19th, 2007

03:09 pm - Discern The Call

This is actually a poster for sale from The Catholic Company but I felt the image was very powerful and I wanted to share it here.

FWIW, I have no affiliation with that company. And oh, by the way this is contemplatio. I wanted to begin a more quieter and serious journal regarding my vocation to be a religious. I attempted to start one earlier that was that basically a collection of images such as this but that didn't seem speak to me so now I am just collating simple text and quotes at contemplatio. (I still have to figure out how to move my userpic to the top of the page and not have it show up with every entry. Some of those customized styles don't allow for much customization.)

As always,

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November 15th, 2007

08:53 am - God's Call
i got this from the Poor Clares, but i think it has universal appeal and can be useful for men in discernment as well :)

God's Call
What does it mean to be called?
It means knowing oneself as infinitely loved,
discovering within yourself a desire to give everything.
It is the assurance that God is enough
and everything else is not enough.

To be called is to receive a gift that surpasses
all understanding. A gift that is nothing
less than God himself.
A gift he longs to give.

God calls each one uniquely.
For some, His call is heard at a very young age
and for others later in life.
He may make His voice heard
at a moment of prayer
or in the midst of an amusement
that suddenly becomes meaningless.

It can be dramatic,
so that one can point to the exact instant
of His invitation,
or it can come as a gradual realization
over the course of years.

God is a lover who respects our freedom.
He does not overwhelm or coerce.
His voice is soft
and we can ignore it
or drown it out
with the noise of the world.

If you suspect He is calling you,
it is worth your while to listen.
In order to hear Him,
you must separate yourself from the question,
"what is in it for me?"
Otherwise, you will only hear the tumult
of your own self-interest.

Do not be afraid.
God is your Creator who has made you
with a specific plan in mind.
It is your task in life to discover this plan
and to fulfill it
will be your joy. 

you are all in my prayers!

Current Location: home
Current Mood: goodgood
Current Music: silence

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