Everyone has a vocation, that is, a particular calling and purpose in life. Growing up, we ask ourselves the same questions: Why am I here? Why am I alive at all? What am I to do?
We instinctively realize that our lives must have meaning. We seek knowledge, relationships, experience. Something calls us onward.
For many people, learning their vocation is a process, guided by heart-felt desires and the choices they make. We don’t always follow a straight line, but there is no law that says we must.
Over time our lives move in a certain direction. We reach a point where we have an “existential inability to be, become, and do otherwise.” *
Each member of the Little Sisters started from a different place, and the winding roads they followed led them to our community. Sr. Connie Ladd did not join us until she was in her forties. Her path led first to marriage, motherhood, and a teaching career.
“In the secret of my heart teach me wisdom,” we read in Psalm 51. In our heart-to-heart talks with our Creator, the journey ahead becomes clearer, or at least the next step. Sr. Connie once put into words the fruit of her quiet communion with the Lord. She wrote a prayer that expresses gratitude for her vocation, and also her hopes and aspirations.
Her prayer reveals two fundamentals about vocations. First, we are never alone in our journey. God, the Author of Life, is the One who calls. God is our collaborator and ultimately our goal. Second, our vocation is not just for ourselves, but for others too. No matter our state in life, we are called to place our gifts at the service of others.
Prayer for a Servant of God
My Lord, God of Mystery and Awe, Your choice of servants amazes me. You could have chosen from among those much more wise and talented, yet You have called upon me.
I am honored by this opportunity to be Your servant by being of service to my brothers and sisters. In Your invitation to serve, I realize that I am drawn into a special relationship with You, my Lord and my God.
May my vocation to religious life in the community of the Little Sisters of Jesus and Mary be for me a means of grace and of building up the Body of Christ.
May I serve with humility and honor, seeking not my own advancement or self-acclaim, but rather to give glory to You and to work for the coming of the Kingdom.
Help me, I pray, to do well – to do Your will – in this vocation with which You have gifted me.
* Nemeck, Francis Kelly and Marie Theresa Coombs. Called by God: A Theology of Vocation and Lifelong Commitment. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1992.