God Calling?

Do you dream of doing something more with your life? Are you longing for deeper meaning and sometimes feel that there is more to life than what you are currently doing? Maybe God is inviting you to explore becoming a Dominican Sister of Peace. Share your gifts with others who want to make a difference in the world. For more information, contact us to begin a conversation.


 

Resistance or Restlessness in Prayer

Blog by Sr. Mai Dung Nguyen

What happens when we feel unsettled or resistant during prayer?

This question is one of the common questions that a retreat director asks a retreatant. One day, I brought this topic to my community as a spontaneous topic for conversation around the table during dinner time. Here is some of what we shared:

  • We don’t always have a smooth peaceful prayer, do we? Some people think that we don’t have struggles with prayer.
  • We do love prayer, but we have struggles sometimes because we are human beings.
  • Sometimes we run into a stumbling block of resistance, which makes us very uncomfortable and restless.
  • It is not important that we bump into resistance or have a restless experience. What is important is how to be aware of it, why it shows up, how to process it, and how to respond.

We began to list our potential or common causes of resistance or restlessness during prayer based on our own experiences or from other people’s experiences:

  • Sometimes because we are so anxious about something in our life, we cannot live fully in the moment with God and ourselves.
  • There can be too many noises in our heart and mind, and we cannot know how to start to be still.
  • It can be that we don’t like a particular way of prayer or don’t want to pray with this group or with a person in this group.
  • Resistance can be from being tired and needing more rest.
  • Our own stubbornness and wanting to control things can cause resistance in prayer too. It can block our openness to God’s working in us and our flexibility to change from what we hear in prayer. Our mind can think ‘I trust in God, I will let God do God’s will in me,’ but the reality is my heart is not open.
  • Sometimes the resistance is actually a nudging from God calling us to something, but we don’t have time to respond.
  • It can be a new invitation from God, and we don’t want to hear or accept this invitation. This invitation may interrupt our comfortable routine or interfere in planning for our future. This invitation can open a new horizon for us, but we won’t dare embrace it because it is not in our comfort zone. The more we want to avoid, the more restlessness we have.

So, you see, sisters often struggle with their prayer life.  We encounter resistance and restlessness and yet we persist in prayer.  We know that God is calling us to be faithful and to trust. To trust that God is with us even in the resistance and restlessness.

How about your prayer? Do you have any resistance or any restless moments in your prayer that you have experienced recently?  Have you paid attention to the underlying reason why these resistances and restlessness show up in your prayer? What do these experiences tell you?  Is it possible that you are resisting God calling you to discern your vocation to religious life?

God Calling??  Come and visit us. Check out our Vocations Facebook page, or one of our other discernment opportunities, including our Come and See Weekend Retreat (September 13-15 at St. Catharine, Kentucky), monthly Emmaus Discernment group (at our Motherhouse in Columbus or on-line–coming back this August), and more. Contact us for more information.

 

Posted in God Calling??, News

What do Fortune Cookies have to do with one’s Vocation?

Blog by Sr. Beata Tiboldi

What is so special about fortune cookies that we can’t leave a Chinese restaurant before we receive one? A fortune cookie is not just a free dessert, and it’s not something that we crave for its taste, but we love them. Why? I think, we all have the answer. Have you ever tried to just put it in your pocket after receiving it? Friends around me would not let me alone until they heard my fortune message. Or, has it ever happened to you that nothing was inside? What does that mean, anyway?! It is indeed the message in the cookies that we can’t wait to read and share.

Most of them are either an advice or a ‘fortune’ statement: “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” Or, “Now is the time to try something new.” Some fortunes are funny: “If you eat something and no one sees you eat it, it has no calories.” Or, “The fortune you seek is in another cookie.”

But one, that I recently had that caught my attention: “Do what you love and the necessary resources will follow.” This is so true for vocations. When we do what we love, we can give our 100%. It is hard to give our best when we don’t like what we do. Frederick Buechner once said: “Vocation is the place where our greatest joy meets the world’s greatest need.” We are called to do what’s rooted in our heart’s desire. God calls us to love. Each of us is called to live out the mission of love, either as a vowed religious, as a single person, as an associate, or as a parent.

Many people spend a lot of time wrestling with God’s call. I know for myself, I let God keep nudging me until I gave it a try. Now, I know, and the fortune cookie also reminded me: “Do what you love and the necessary resources will follow.”

What is God calling you to? If you would like to talk about living out your call as a vowed religious sister, contact us at vocations@oppeace.org.

 

Posted in God Calling??, News

Embracing Imperfection

Blog by Sr. June Fitzgerald

Yesterday we wrapped up our 2019 Mission Immersion week.  Five days of community, prayer, study and service with six women discerning their call to religious life.  They came from New Jersey, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Ohio.  Each of them has a unique story of how God is calling them to something more.  Our Vocation team was honored and blessed to walk with them this week.  As we cleaned up the lake house, packed our supplies, locked the door and drove away, I was very aware of the many graces we experienced and shared over this brief time.  I’d like to share with you about the grace we all received – that of wabi-sabi.

What is wabi-sabi?  In traditional Japanese aesthetics, it is a stance centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection.  Sister Anne Lythgoe, a potter, who led us in a time of prayer, reflection, and active creativity with clay, introduced us to this concept.  Each of us received a ball of soft clay to prayerfully create a pinch pot.   She encouraged us to center ourselves in God and allow God to work with us as we molded the clay.  In silence, we sat on lawn chairs in her back yard.  The breeze stirred the trees and we were surrounded by the sounds of wildlife as we prayed.  Anne encouraged us to accept whatever imperfections we found in the clay – to incorporate them into the whole and to reflect on what God might be saying to us through them.

This wabi-sabi was not easy for some – yet led to some profound reflections by the participants and vocation directors.

After praying with and molding our clay we regathered in the community room at the Sabbath House to share about the process we experienced and what we created.  It was a rich sharing of faith, trust, and a gentle embracing of our own imperfections.  One of the women created a pot in the shape of a heart – an open receptive vessel.  The heart, she said, was a symbol of her own heart being invited to accept God’s graces and healing and then to pour out those graces to others in her daily interactions.  Another discerner intentionally made a dent in the edge of the rim of her pot, symbolizing her brokenness and incompleteness.  As we shared, we felt God’s gentle presence with us, bonding us through this experience and our common journey of growing in relationship with God.  We all received the grace of wabi-sabi and grew in a Spirituality of Imperfection.

Ultimately, vocational discernment is a process that is different for each person.  It is not something we do perfectly – sometimes we need to step out in faith, trusting that the next right step is enough for now.  Then we take the next and the next.  We are imperfect beings and when we can accept and embrace the beauty found within our own imperfections, it is then that God can illumine our path and the light of Christ can shine through the cracks in our armor.

How is God inviting you to embrace your imperfections?  How will you practice wabi-sabi today?

God Calling??  Contact us here to being the conversation.

Posted in God Calling??, News

Let’s Be the Community People Strive to Find

Blog by Sr. June Fitzgerald

If you are like me, you’ve been to more than a few graduation and baccalaureate Masses this month. I have a confession to make:  I like commencement speeches and baccalaureate homilies. I could write a book entitled, “Everything I Need to Know I Learned at Commencements and Baccalaureates.”

This year’s baccalaureate homily at Albertus Magnus College, a liberal arts college founded by our sisters in 1925, provided more than a few points to include in such a book. Father Jordan Lenaghan, OP in his homily, focused on three points that I believe speak directly to those graduating and those discerning their life’s call.

The first was to seek and speak the truth—Veritas—one of our Dominican mottoes, even when it leads you to bold action (that makes you shake a little) or to speaking that which is not popular. Secondly, to seek and pursue a deeper meaning in your life. Then, to become the community people strive to find.

I’ve been pondering these words for the last few weeks and I am more convinced than ever that this is our quest. To become, more and more each day, that community of believers others strive to find. A community, yes, a family of faith, truth, and deep meaning.

St Dominic embarked on this quest over 800 years ago, as did the women who founded our congregations. Today, we stand on their shoulders with our eyes fixed on the future.

What is your truth? Your meaning? Where are you being called?

Are being called to learn more about our community?  Click here to contact us.

Posted in God Calling??, News

Letting Go

Blog by Associate Mary Ellen George

My husband and I just started an all-liquid diet that we will be on for at least six months.  It’s a medically supervised diet and, of course, it presents all the obvious challenges of hunger, temptation, and deprivation.  But, I’m approaching this diet as a spiritual exercise in learning to let go of what weighs me down and keeps me from being transformed into the person God calls me to be.

One attitude that I’m trying to let go of is anger.  When I harbor anger, I know I’m allowing this feeling to eat away at my ability to be at peace, to see things clearly, and to be open to God’s graces.  What I’m learning is that if I adopt an attitude of understanding, I can diffuse my anger and not let it control me.  When I allow understanding to be my focus, I can let go of my way of thinking about a person or situation and let God transform me into a more compassionate, peace-filled person.  I can practice being and building peace, which are two aspects of the mission of the Dominican Sisters of Peace and Associates.

What attitude do you need to let go of and give over to God so that you can be transformed?

As I experience hunger pangs, I am aware that this will be only a temporary feeling for me.  While I’ve made the choice to follow this diet, there are many who experience hunger not by choice but by circumstance, often beyond their control.  Can I use this experience to increase my awareness of the plight of the impoverished or of those suffering from malnutrition?  I can let go of my need to consume and use the occasion to make a monetary contribution to a local food bank.

What is God calling you to sacrifice today for the good of others?

As I pass by a bowl of candies many times a day on my way to and from my office, I experience a gnawing temptation to satisfy my taste buds with this instant delight.  We all experience temptation because our desires for food, comfort, love, and so on, are part of being human.  These same desires, however, can become addictive with a must-have attitude. Understanding what we are seeking or desiring can help us overcome temptation and by refocusing our energies towards something else or remembering why we’re pursuing a particular goal can help us refrain from temptation.

What temptations keep you from staying on your path to becoming whole?

In the Gospel readings from Mark, Matthew, and Luke, we read about Jesus’s temptation at Gethsemane of not wanting to face the upcoming events that awaited him of being betrayed, mocked, scorned, beaten, and then crucified.  Prayer becomes Jesus consolation as he lets go of his desire to not suffer and prays to God, “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will but as you will” (Matthew 26:39, Mark 14:36, Luke 22:42).

When I feel deprived upon seeing others enjoying a meal or a snack, I can remind myself again of this temporary state of dwelling and focus my attention on the need to be transformed physically and spiritually.  Scripture again tells us how Jesus dealt with deprivation when he was hungry during his 40 days of fasting in the wilderness.  Confronted by Satan to provide food for himself miraculously, Jesus asserts “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Matthew 4:4). Jesus instead trusts God to provide for his needs.  Jesus’ dependence on God is an act of letting go and allowing God to be the center of his life.

What is your spiritual hunger?  What is your spiritual sustenance?  Are you able to let go of your desires and give your concerns to God, making God the center of your life?

Each of us is on a journey and faces different challenges.  We can lean on God through prayer and seek support from others around us for strength to accept or overcome these challenges.  God is with us and we need only let go to allow God to transform us into the person we are meant to be.

Are you meant to follow God’s will as a religious sister?  Are you ready to be transformed into the person God meant you to be?  Why not contact us to talk over where God might be leading you?

Posted in God Calling??, News