Recently, I watched the movie: “Secret: Dare to Dream. I feel inspired by the movie, mostly, because Bray, who helps a widowed mother and her family, exemplifies how positive thoughts can transform minds and can lead to a heart full of compassion and hope. In daring to dream, the characters are challenged to be open and to think beyond reality, taking the courage to work toward achieving something they would like to see happen. Whether it’s the stress of having most of your classes online, or battling with the pandemic and its effects on us, or losing a loved one recently, or feeling uncertain about God’s call, I thought that we all could use some inspiration.
At times, the thought of discerning God’s call might make you wrestle with your thoughts. It may be difficult to be open about where these thoughts may take you. At first, you might ‘ditch’ the idea of being called to religious life, but if it keeps nudging you, you might want to explore what this call means for you. Bray offers this inspiration in the movie: “When the time is right, you’ll know what to do.”
You might begin exploring this call by examining these questions: What does your prayer life look like when you pray about God’s call? What values do you hold dear? What is it that you look for in a religious community? In the movie, Bray points out: “if you don’t know what you want, how can you ask for it?” When discerning religious life, it is important that you look at the charism, prayer life, mission, and community life of the religious orders. These factors might help you narrowing down your search to just a few religious communities.
We, Dominicans, study the Word and study the needs of our time, and in doing so, we examine what attitude to adopt or what action to follow. This coming Sunday, in the Gospel we are reminded to love God with all our heart, mind and soul, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Easier said than done. But countless people throughout history have shown us the way to love and Jesus’ life and teachings are foremost the best example of how to love. Jesus offered hope and compassion to many and we are called to do the same. Bray embodies a humble attitude, and he exemplifies what compassion and hope can do. When facing a question or concern, our attitude can ‘decide’ the outcome. As Bray reminds viewers in the movie, we “have to be careful because we get what we expect.” I agree. A “yeah, right” with a frown might not take us anywhere, while a “yeah, right” with a courageous tone might inspire us to work for a more peaceful world, or even more, it might open doors to new opportunities that God has in store for us.
In the movie, Bray didn’t think that anything was coincidental. In fact, he quoted Albert Einstein when he was asked: “Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.” Think about this statement for a moment. How has God shown up seemingly by coincidence in your life?
Whether it’s your discernment, or a current event in today’s world, such as the current election in the U.S., the immigration situation at the southern U.S. border, or knowing that the parents of 545 children are still separated and cannot be found, reflecting on the effects of climate change or on the effects of the pandemic, you might want to ponder what is your attitude and what action are you willing to take. You might also ponder these two questions–What inspires you in nurturing your relationship with God? How can or are you an instrument of God’s love and hope for others in this wounded world?
If you are discerning religious life and you are a single, Catholic woman between age 18-45, and you would like to deepen your relationship with God through prayer, contact Sr. June Fitzgerald via email at firstname.lastname@example.org for information about our monthly prayer group. If you would like to explore God’s call with other discerning women, we offer a discernment group monthly. We also have a mini-retreat coming up in November, click here to access more information.