By Sister Julie Myers, OSF
This is the time of year when we get inundated with football and the wild card schedule that eventually surfaces the two best playing teams to face off in the Super Bowl. Ready or not, it is here!
The other evening I turned on the TV and listened to the football announcers babble on about the winning teams. What caught my attention was that just after using the name of the winning team, they talked the whole time about a few players that won the game. If you hear about the Pittsburg Steelers, you often hear the name Ben Roethlisberger. When announcers talk about the Denver Broncos, they immediately move to talking about Peyton Manning.
Hmmm…can only a few players really win the game? Doesn’t it take everyone who carries the name of the team to win a game? If the quarterback is not protected he can easily get sacked behind the line or worse fumble the ball. There are 11 players on the field, not to mention the second and third string of players, or the coaching staff, the medical staff, equipment staff, and so on. A few cannot succeed and a game cannot be won without the whole team working together.
As I think about all of this football stuff, I contrast it to religious life as a whole and to my own religious congregation, in particular. We are the Sisters of St Francis—there are certain individuals who are more active than others, some sit on the bench…or might I say “in the pews” and others are on the injured list. But we do not exist or even succeed because of a few sisters. We “are” because of all the Sisters living, ministering, praying, and living together as a congregation and we exist with one spirit and purpose. Where would our spirit be if only a few were acknowledged? What would be of our energy if only a few mattered and the rest merely existed?
When God nudges a heart to discern their vocational calling, they are not nudged because of their greatness, but because of their potential. Above all, they are not directed to discern alone. Discernment is not done in isolation. God places individuals on a person’s path to walk with them, to listen to their process and to guide them in the direction God has planned. When a person asks to enter our congregation, they become one of us and learn to be part of the Franciscan family. They grow into the person God created them to be because of the religious congregation they have united their heart and spirit to.
Pope Francis, announced the Year 2015 to be one of Celebration of the Year of Consecrated Life. With this proclamation, he calls all consecrated women and men to “Wake Up the World” with our joyful hearts and lives. Let us share the Gospel message of Jesus together as a “team”. Maybe the sports world could learn a few things from the religious men and women of our day and time?