Tuesday, December 14, 2010


All this year the calendar nearest the desk in my study has been one made by and for the Sisters of the Visitation Monastery here in Mobile. The final picture, for December, is a group photo of the sisters—a community of eight women.

Just a couple of weeks ago I received word of the death of one of the sisters at the Dominican Monastery of St Jude in Marbury. I was able to offer Mass for her repose, and I got a lovely note from the Mother Superior there, along with a memorial card.

There are two things that connect the card and the calendar for me, and they are equally important. The first is that both the Visitation Monastery and St Jude Monastery are communities of cloistered nuns: their entire life is focused on prayer, seeking God alone.
The second is the tremendous happiness that radiates from all their faces: they have found joy in their vocation, joy in our Lord.

Most of these women are about the same age—in their 80s. Sr Mary Magdalen of the Marbury Dominicans was actually born the same year as my own Mother—1925. Does it take a lifetime before one comes to see the truth of one’s vocation and love it (and be loved by it)? Perhaps it’s only at the end of a long road that one can really look back and say that whether or not it was the “road less traveled” it was the right road for me, and that the Lord’s hand was upon me even when I wasn’t aware of it or didn’t perceive it…

“Vocation” in many ways is what our hand finds to do (to refer to Ecclesiastes 9:10)—will we “do it with our might” for God’s glory and the advancement of the Kingdom? We might be cloistered nuns, or diocesan priests; we might be single-parents or ministering to spouses with Alzheimer’s or cancer; we might be young adults in college or starting a first real job. The key is always the answer to the question “Given all that I am, given who and what I am, how can I take this package of personhood and give God the glory with it today?” No answer will produce the kind of joy and happiness of the sisters here in Mobile or in Marbury other than that that particular calling was truly their calling.

And to know what is your—or my—calling, requires listening to the whispers of the Spirit within. When heart’s deepest inclinations resonate with outward choices, then one finds peace; one finds one’s vocation.

May we all live and die in the Lord with the joy of these cloistered sisters!

No comments:

Post a Comment