Instead of asking directly what to do in life, an additional way to discover what God may be calling us to in our lives is to ask ourselves the question, “What if I don’t do this or that?” The discernment process can be compared to an expert jeweler examining a fine diamond. The jeweler turns the diamond one way and then another to catch the light in order to see the many facets of this exquisite jewel. The cut of the jewel determines the number of facets there will be to examine.
It’s the same when we are looking at our future and asking, “Where does God want me to invest my life and my gifts?” It’s vital to turn our lives this way and that to consider the “what-ifs”. Surprises show up and we begin to see something new – a new facet of life on which to base our choice. With a little bit of courage, we ask the question above – what if I don’t do it?
Regret that we never tried living out a choice can be much harder to live with than risking a mistake. Mary, the mother of Jesus, took a risk when the angel Gabriel announced she would be the mother of God’s Son and she responded with her “Yes.” Like the rest of us, she had no way of knowing how the rest of her life would play out or what joys and sufferings would be part of it. She just gave her “yes” and then stayed open to how God would lead her through the next step and the ones after that.
How about for you? What if you don’t follow what’s nudging you from the depths of your heart?
Mirando Desde Un Lado Opuesto
En lugar de preguntar directamente qué hacer en la vida, una forma adicional de descubrir a lo que Dios puede estar llamándonos en nuestras vidas es hacernos la pregunta: "¿Qué pasará si no hago esto o aquello?" El proceso de discernimiento puede ser comparado con un joyero experto que examina un diamante fino. El joyero mueve el diamante de un lado para otro para captar la luz y ver las múltiples facetas de esta exquisita joya. El corte de la joya determina el número de facetas que habrá que examinar.
Es lo mismo cuando miramos nuestro futuro y preguntamos: "¿Dónde quiere Dios que invierta mi vida y mis dones?" Es vital mover nuestras vidas de un lado para otro para considerar el "qué pasaría si." Aparecen sorpresas y comenzamos a ver algo nuevo – una nueva faceta de la vida en la que basar nuestra decisión. Con un poco de valor, hacemos la pregunta anterior: ¿Qué pasará si no lo hago?
Lamentar que nunca hayamos intentado vivir nuestra decision, puede ser mucho más difícil que arriesgar cometer un error. María, la madre de Jesús, se arriesgó cuando el ángel Gabriel anunció que sería la madre del Hijo de Dios y ella respondió con su "Sí." Como el resto de nosotras, no tenía forma de saber cómo saldría el resto de su vida o qué alegrías y sufrimientos serían parte de ella. Ella simplemente dió su "Sí" y luego se mantuvo abierta a cómo Dios la guiaría a través del siguiente paso y sus futuros pasos.
¿Qué tal para usted? ¿Qué pasará si no sigue lo que la empuja desde lo más profundo de su corazón?
Mary’s “yes” to the angel when told she was favored and chosen to bear the Son of God, inspires us by its simple consent and its leap of faith into an uncertain future. She knew she couldn’t fully know or understand what she was getting herself into. But Mary placed her trust in God.
None of us when discerning our future path knows for sure that this or that is the right choice for us because there is no way to know the unknown. It really is all about our willingness to trust that God loves us. In our love and trust, when we have done our best to listen to what the Holy Spirit has in mind for our lives, we step onto the path, continuing to trust in God’s love.
In these days of Advent waiting we can allow ourselves a little extra time to be still, to welcome silence into our lives. Silence is God’s best way to communicate. Our listening and really hearing is best done in silence too.
May you be still enough to hear the still, small whispers of God,
To jump start your listening: http://www.adriandominicans.org/BecomeaSister/EnteringtheLife.aspx
A close friend of mine was out with her beloved Grandmother. They were waiting for the light to change before crossing a busy street. Grandmother says to her granddaughter, “See the blind man across the street: Go and tell him your name, and offer to walk him across the street.” Of course, the little girl did exactly what her grandmother said. “My name is Marianne, may I walk across the street with you?” This was a life-changing event in the young girl’s life. In this simple act, she discovered the joy of service. She has been a Franciscan Sister of Peace for many years now.
We may receive such gifts during this time of Christmas, small gifts that shape our lives into the future. And then there are gifts that ask us for the big response: the “Big Give,” such as a vocation to religious life that asks for your life to be the hand of Christ for others.
Being the hand of Christ for others can take many forms. The invitation and the grace to say “yes” come from God who lives among the people, especially those who are on the margins. Women have many options. You will do it in your own way. It’s an unknown future. How is God asking you to be the hand of Christ for others?
Sister Judith Benkert, OP
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Sister Tarianne DeYonker, OP
Sister Mariane Fahlman, OP
Adrian Dominican Sisters
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Adrian, Michigan 49221-1793
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Get out your bell-bottoms and platform shoes, because DISCO is here!
Okay, so it's a little less dancing, a little more talking... Sisters Lorraine Réaume, OP, and Sara Fairbanks, OP, have a video series called DISCO (Discernment Conversations): Dancing with the questions of life!