Vocational Musings

In today's Gospel, we see one version of Peter's (Simon in this Lucan version) vocational call from Jesus:
While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God, he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret. ... After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch."

Simon said in reply, "Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets." When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. ...

Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men." When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.

This reading always reminds me of a talk I watched on video when I was a candidate, by Timothy Radcliffe, OP. I think he was talking to the National Vocation Conference, if I'm not mistaken. Radliffe talked about how a call to a religious vocation isn't really a break from who you are at the moment you hear the call, but rather an invitation into a further transformation into who God is calling you to be. The transformation builds upon everything that has happened to you so far. For example, Simon (a fisherman) was transformed by Jesus into a fisher of people. St. Francis was transformed from a troubadour of love songs to a troubadour for God. St. Ignatius was transformed from a soldier to a soldier for God.

I remember my heart stopping as I sat on my couch watching the video. Did that mean God was calling me - at the time a bureaucrat - to be a bureaucrat for God?? All my grand romantic ideas of a religious vocation went briefly out the window! It's now more than five years since I first watched that video, and yet that thought keeps coming back to me - especially as I use my administrative, policy and organizing skills in my peace and justice ministry as a Sister of St. Joseph of Peace.

As much as I joke about being "God's bureaucrat," I think there's a lot of truth to that. God is calling me, with all my administrative and red tape cutting/creating skills, to follow along on this wonderful crazy journey.The key point to remember I think is that God is doing the calling, and God knows what God is doing. My job - in a spirit of prayer an discernment - is to look to my heart and answer accordingly.

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