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Discernment Scripture Passages for Reflection

Call of Abraham: Gen. 22:11-12

This text relates the last in a series of calls God made to Abraham. A call to religious life is not unlike Abraham's call. With the first stirrings of a call, doubts arise: What? Me? Really? What will my family and friends say? If, like Abraham, you are called to make a move from doubt to faith, to dependence and love:

  • What would that entail for you?
  • What are the obstacles?
  • As you listen for God's call, what questions are in your heart?
  • What has been your way of dealing with these questions in the past?
  • What other possibilities are there for dealing with these questions?

Martha: Luke 10:41

While Mary sat at the feet of Jesus, Martha worked to provide for her guests. Both have welcomed him into their home. But the reaction to Jesus' presence in their home is very different between the sisters. Mary sits and listens to his words. Mary is calm and peaceful. Martha is also attentive to Jesus, but her focus is on serving the friends who have come to her home expecting hospitality. Martha becomes frustrated with Mary and implores Jesus to encourage Mary to help her. In religious life, we are all called to be Marthas and Marys. There are many "household chores" (ministries) which will be asked of you to perform in your communities and ministries. It is necessary to take time for prayer, contemplation, spiritual reading and retreats. Without time to sit and listen, there is the danger of becoming worried and distracted about many things. If, like Martha and Mary, you are called to "be with Christ,"

  • How have you learned to balance work and ministry with prayer and developing a deeper relationship with Jesus?
  • What suggestions could you offer to others?
  • What difficulties have YOU encountered in integrating prayer and ministry?
  • What have you done in the past to help integrate prayer and ministry?

Saul: Acts 9:4

Saul (renamed Paul), finds himself in the presence of the divine. Like Moses, Saul cries out, "Who are you, Lord?" Their moments of call were mysterious and filled with many questions in addition to turning onto a new path. When God calls in this way there has to be a change in the life of the one called: a new direction, a new mission, a new and more intimate relationship with God. This requires a new way of listening and a new way of responding. Change often brings about an encounter with the unknown, the unwanted and the suffering. Don't be surprised if your call from God to the religious life results in a change of direction or focus as great and radical for you as it was for Paul. It is important to listen and respond to the calling of one's name by God, to remain open to change.

  • What experiences have you had with change in your life far (i.e., relationships, attitudes, locations, etc.)?
  • What might God ask of you that would constitute a BIG change for you?
  • What would help you make these changes?
  • How do you foresee your identity would change if you chose this vocation?

*Resource used: I Heard God Call My Name: A Resource for Vocation Discernment. NRVC. Sr. Timothy McHatten, OP. 1995

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