This past weekend I went on a camping retreat at the Sleeping Bear Dunes with forty some other young adults; it was amazingly fun and spiritually refreshing. It was so much fun coming home smelling like camp fire and getting to climb the sand dunes late at night with flashlights...however, nearly drowning in Lake Michigan was something I could have done without (let's just say I should have payed better attention in all those swimming lessons I was forced to take as a kid).
But really, in all seriousness, there was a particular moment that really struck me and made this retreat for me. The Friday evening meditation and talk was based upon the Gospel of St. Luke 5:1-11, 'Jesus calling the first disciples.' One of the questions offered for our personal prayer and reflection was, "How am I called?" It was at this point the Holy Spirit whacked me over the head with a two-by-four piece of heavenly wood and made me think. I like when the Holy Spirit does that and grabs my attention :-)
So I thought and prayed, "How am I, Patty Breen, a 24 1/2 year old woman 'called'?" Usually when I hear the word "calling/to be called by God," I think of this relating to one of two things: being called to marriage or being called to religious life. For me, right now in my life I am called to just do what God has put in front of me...to just "be" in the present of my life here and now. The more I sat with this over the weekend, the more it resignated with me; just this very strong sense of Christ saying to me that I am called "to just be in praise and prayer, don't keep looking for you cannot see what is ahead of you." I have a certain amount of certainity of the direction and vocation of my life. I am blessed to have a wonderful spiritual director who helps guide me in my relationship with Jesus, as well as be a prayerful support. I think I have a sense of how I am called through my own prayer with Spriture and spiritual journaling. Right now, Jesus' call to me is to be with Him in praise and prayer, to grow myself and serve in ministry, and try and experience new things. Do I have a sense of where my life is going, my vocational call? Yes. But that doesn't mean, I am called to that immediately. For me right now, Jesus is letting me know that he is calling me to just "be" with and fall more deeply in love with Him and to work in ministry and service for the Kingdom of God.
Throughout life, I think perhaps we go through different degrees of being called by God...more than the typical call to either marriage or religious life, as I had previously thought. God called me to different things 5 or 10 years ago, and He will call me to different things over the next 5, 10, 20 years of my life. Our God is a God of mystery :-)
So just as Jesus called Peter, James, and John from their fishing boats to come and follow Him, He continues to call each of us in beautifully, unique ways. Perhaps take that same question to your own prayer and reflection I did: "How am I called?"