By Sr. Julie Myers
I write today out of my heart’s ponderings. I wrestle with two concepts: St. Paul’s plea from Sunday’s scripture of how to live a life worthy of the calling we have each received; and frequent on-line requests I receive for vocation information where women are posting very definite points or ideas of what they believe construct a worthy religious life.
Wrestle with me here—St. Paul pleads to the Ephesians 4:1 to “live a life worthy of the calling you have received, with perfect humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another lovingly. Make every effort to preserve the unity which has the Spirit as its origin and peace as its binding force.”
He not only speaks from lived experience but from a developed relationship with God. The gifts of humility, meekness, patience and love which he speaks of reflect the internal character and charism of the person. Now shift to some of the E-contacts I mentioned above. Some seekers post lists of what they think they need to live religious life. It seems to me that these lists place the importance of the life on outward actions and desires, not internal characteristics and charism. They are asking for particulars in a way of life they have not yet lived.
St. Paul’s plea comes from his own lived experiences to challenge the Ephesians—and us—to live from within using the gifts God has given. As women religious today, we each must grow and develop as individuals and as a congregation so that eventually we live authentically from within. To do that, we must learn and love who we are and most importantly allow space for God to work within us. We are called to serve others by giving of ourselves to better the lives and situations of God’s people. We don’t live for ourselves, nor do we live out of external signs and needs. Religious life is lived out of a calling from God to be his message and goodness to the world. Religious life continues to exist because God continually nurtures us through a loving relationship balanced with prayer, ministry, community life and enjoyment of life.
We each have a Vocation in life, whether it is expressed through marriage, single life, religious life or priesthood. As we grow in relationship with God, we will discover how to live a life worthy of the calling we each have received.