Wednesday, 11 January 2017

My Vocation: More than enough

By Sr Rebekah Marie

'More than enough'

These are words my dad often likes to recall with a smile, reminding me of a conversation we had years ago at Walsingham. He was just coming to terms with the idea of my vocation and quoted to me St Julian of Norwich, Jesus, you're enough for me. To which I spontaneously responded, "Dad, Jesus is more than enough!"
This is where I want to begin these few thoughts on vocation. It's such a great joy belonging to Christ, I want to bear witness to this great reality which seems so well hidden! Vocation comes from the Latin word 'vocare' which means to call, to receive a divine call from God. This is how religious life and priesthood begin. To have this calling is not to be lacking or missing out, it's not like being on a strict diet where you're always hungry for something else or only just surviving... ‘The Lord is my Shepherd, there is nothing I shall want.’ (Ps 23) ‘If God did not spare His own Son but gave him up for us all, will He not also give us all things with Him?’ (Rom 8) ‘To be near God is my happiness!’ (Ps 72)
Growing up, being a nun was really the last thing I wanted to do, because I didn't get what it was! I didn't realise that it was to live a life in greater proximity with the Lord. All I could see seemed negative - all the things I'd be giving up - family, friends, home, career, marriage, children, freedom... like a life-long lent! I didn't realise that it's like the gospel of the man who finds a treasure and gives up everything else to own it. I didn't see what I would receive. Life consecrated entirely to Christ can only be ‘life to the full!’

'Do not be afraid of Christ'

With regard to vocation, the first thing to battle against is our fear! ' If we want to be true disciples, true followers of Christ, we can't follow from a distance or half-halfheartedly. In the words of Pope Benedict XVI, 'Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes away nothing and gives you everything!' Recently, my sister Miriam led a bible timeline group for young people at her parish in Winchester. When she asked them what stopped them reading the word of God, they responded very truthfully that they were afraid that if they read it God might call them to the Religious life or Priesthood!
How fear of the unknown can limit us in our friendship with Christ, in our call to holiness. ‘Do not be afraid of Christ!’ How can we fear someone who is all love and wants our happiness?  Let's be those who ‘follow the Lamb wherever He goes(Ap7), trusting Him and knowing that the only necessary thing is to be with Christ, doing His will, and that there, and there alone, will we find our true joy.  Cardinal Newman speaks so eloquently of this:

‘God has determined ... that I should reach that which will be my greatest happiness.
He looks on me individually, He calls me by my name,
He knows what I can do, what I can best be,
what is my greatest happiness, and He means to give it to me.

My will & His will

We must have hearts that are open and willing! Often we think we know best, we think we know where our true happiness lies, but we are forgetting that God is God! He knows us better than we know ourselves, because He made us! Let's dare to ask Him to show us His will, and ask for the grace to love His way.

There is a lot of confusion in discernment, and I often hear people dismiss the idea of a religious vocation because they feel drawn to marriage. It is important to realise that we all have a natural desire for marriage and family - it is what we were made for. However, to feel this way isn't a criteria for not discerning.
When I was discerning I remember saying to God, "I don't want to be a nun, but I want to do your will. I can't do something I don't want to do, so if you want me to do that you'll have to change my heart." And He did! It's been my joy to be a contemplative sister for the last ten years. ‘Bend my heart to Your will O Lord!’ (ps 118)

The call to religious life or priesthood goes ‘against’ our nature and so we would never be drawn to it if there wasn't divine intervention! This calling isn't natural, it is on a different level, it's on the level of grace - of our divine life - our supernatural life, hence why it implies real co-operation with God to discern. It's not our feelings which will show us if we have a vocation or not, we must ask the Lord His intention for us. "Show me Lord your way, that I may walk in your path." (ps 118)

Today’s world is in such great need of God, and needs, more than ever, men and women who are ready to lay down their lives and follow Christ in the priesthood and religious life. We are all important and necessary in God’s plan of salvation. Don't be afraid! God needs our YES. What is yours? Let's ask Mary to help us always respond as she did – ‘Let it be done unto me according to your word!’


As a community, we, the sister's of Mary the Morning Star, will be hosting an Aquinas Weekend (27th - 29th Jan) at our convent in Greyshott. If you are interested or have and other questions please get in touch -


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