Vocation is Your Gift

discerning vocation_donaghy

I think Jackie and I both have been struggling to find time to be creative.  Songwriting and crafting blogs all too easily take a backseat to binge sessions on Netflix, especially when we are tired after a day of chasing a toddler and keeping her fingers out of the electric sockets.

I’ve been wanting to write more particularly about discernment and finish my intended 5-part blog series, but thankfully there’s plenty of other talented writers expounding on this topic.  Mentor, teacher, and friend of mine, Bill Donaghy of the Theology of the Body Institute, recently posted this gem on Discerning Your Vocation.  I highly recommend it.

Here are some gems from his post:

“It strikes me that vocation for the Christian is never a completely blind surrender, a kind of self-annihilating submission that happens almost without us having a word in it at all. The truth of vocation is that it’s a dialogue, not a monologue. A dance more than a cold directive. Wasn’t this true in all of the vocations that changed the world? God initiated then waited on the yes of Noah, of Abraham and of Moses. Heaven spoke then waited on the courageous response of a Samuel, then a David, an Isaiah, and a Daniel. Most especially, when a call was given to a little one named Mary, Heaven waited with bated breath on the most fruitful fiat of the now Mother of All the Living?”

“…The Christian anthropology revealed in the Theology of the Body, is about a marriage of all these things – the fusing of wills, the melding of hearts. When it comes to discerning your vocation, your heart, your passion, and your personality matter. Again, vocation isn’t always some divine directive that God has preordained without your input that drops down from the cloud into your lap when you’re good enough or ready enough to receive it. Vocation, your calling, is your gift. It is the personal gift of God to crown your heart, and your response to his gift by your self-donation to the world of what’s in you.”

“…So back into the question of “What will I be when I grow up?” comes an adjustment. Maybe the better question to ask is “How will I love in a way that corresponds to my deepest love? What am I passionate about and when I give it to the Lord, where might that passion flow?”


“Many people mistake our work for our vocation. Our vocation is the love of Jesus.”

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

  One thought on “Vocation is Your Gift

    • January 7, 2016 at 9:39 pm

      Great stuff! May do a future post on this…keep writing!

      • Laura Dowling
        February 13, 2016 at 1:29 pm

        And another!

        “I love the Church’s teaching on sexuality. When I learned about it in high school– it changed my life. I was inspired by Theology of the Body–and have read a lot of literature in the genre of Christian sexuality–specifically Catholic sexuality. The writings of John Paul II have been critical in my formation as a woman of God. What I did not anticipate was the rough transition from simply reading about Theology of the Body, to living it out.
        As any good “Chastity Club Leader”( yes– I had a club in high school in which I shared Theology of the Body ….And yes I am still teased with the label to this day). As any great chastity club leader would do, I prayed for my future husband intensively. I offered up every Rosary for him. I offered up every Mass for him. The Lord really drew me to Himself through my years of singleness. I developed beautiful friendships and felt this ever deeper sense of vocation–of this call to love using my full person-hood.

        Through my singleness, I not only developed my person-hood, but I also developed this invulnerability–much like the Pharisees. “Wash your heart not your garments” says the Lord. I would watch some of my friends date and began to judge harshly. I watched them struggle to overcome lust and formed this interior Pharisee disposition that I had not recognized until recently: “I am closer to God because I am not dating. All I need is God. I do not need creatures to encounter God.”

        The last sentence is anti-Theology of the Body, for, as John Paul II writes, ” The body, and only the body is capable of making that which is invisible visible”. It is through our encounter with people that we encounter God. How we love people is a direct reflection of how we love God. We need personal communion to fully reveal ourselves. And as that personal communion deepens, God reveals both our redeemed beauty, and those parts of us still bloodied, disfigured, and not yet glorified.

        I am no longer single. A few weeks ago, God transcended a holy brother and sister in Christ friendship into a joyful vocational discernment. For the past 6 months of my friendship with Lewis, I refused to take my desires to God. I thought that somehow, my will and God’s will were diametrically apposed. That I had my desires, and God had his. I wanted to be given a command from God–and ignored the beautiful potential in a friendship that deepened my love for Christ, for this special friend, and for all whom I encountered.
        As this awesome man and I got closer, my faults were brought to the surface. He was the friend who accepted me where I was at, and yet challenged me to allow Christ to take me beyond that place– deeper into holiness–deeper into the Paschal Mystery. I challenged him in the same way. As we mirrored each others strengths and weaknesses, our person-hood began to unfurl. I always considered our friendship one of God’s greatest gifts–because this gift brought me closer to the Giver of the gift.

        Little did I know, a mutual, beloved friend of ours named Faun had seen this potential and began praying for us long before I had. Eventually, I entrusted God with my desire. I prayed ” God, I feel so much joy when I think of being with this man. If you will this, have him initiate a holy courtship”. Knowing how difficult it would be for a man to take the risk of dating(and possibly losing) his best friend–and knowing Lewis likes to talk about emotions just about as much as he would like contracting Ebola– I prayed all the more fervently. After praying about it for a while, I confided in Faun. She told me she had seen how much Lewis and I love each other as a brother and sister in Christ–and had the insight to see the solid foundation for dating and marriage that Christ had built through our friendship.
        Two weeks after Faun and I fellow-shipped and decided to pray about it harder, Lewis– the stoic Lewis– looked me in the eye, and said ” Laura, you are my best friend. My relationship with you brings me closer to Christ. You are so beautiful. We should date.”–
        Through all of my friendships, I have gotten to know Christ better because it is through our bodies that the “invisible is made visible”.
        Dating an attractive, holy man of God who is your best friend does not make chastity any easier(even for the Chastity club leader…HA). In fact, it makes it more difficult because the more you love someone– the more intense that desire is to give yourself fully to them. As I am learning, purity is a total inward transformation– an arduous, painful one.
        When I immersed myself in the teachings of Theology of the Body, Christ began to transform my mind. And now as I live out those teachings that transformed my mind, Christ is transforming my heart. What a victory for Lewis and I no matter where Christ leads us on this path, because we are encountering Christ in the pure love we have for the other. What a victory for Christ. What a victory for the Church.
        There is no real romance without sacrifice. There is no Resurrection without the Passion. It is in dying to ourselves that we are most alive.
        St. John Paul the Great, pray for us, that we may encounter Christ more fully in others. “

  1. Laura Dowling
    January 7, 2016 at 11:18 am

    Hey Jackie and Bobbie! I wrote a brief commentary on the power of Mary’s intercession, and the power of woman’s intercession. I do not know if you ever post the works of others on your blog, but you are welcome to use mine if you find it could be useful:

    “Mary’s words, ” They have no wine”, though simple, show a complex part in the nature of woman. Woman is uniquely attuned to the needs of others. Woman is more attuned than man–for it was not Jesus who was concerned with this wedding feast dilemma.

    This attribute, what John Paul II called the ” feminine genius”, has a key role in salvation history. Because Mary was receptive to the needs of the human person, she facilitated Jesus’s first miracle.

    Now suppose Mary was born with original sin. Suppose she did not walk in the light of God constantly, and had a proclivity to selfishness. Suppose instead of being concerned with the needs of others, she whined(sorry–could not resist the pun) and complained about the lack of spirits. One could assume Jesus would not have performed his first miracle, and the course of His ministry would be changed, for it was after this miracle that the disciples first began to believe.

    This intuitiveness has the power to change the course of history. This unique awareness of each person’s needs is not limited to the physical. On the contrary, women are keenly aware of the spiritual strengths and weaknesses of those whom she is surrounded. This is a gift that can be used to build God’s Kingdom, or to tear it down.

    I myself am guilty of using this gift to tear God’s kingdom down. I have been prone to complaining about the faults of others , and thinking only of how the sinfulness of others affects me.

    Instead of saying to Jesus with tenderness, ” They have no wine” , I have been prone to bemoaning to the other wedding feast guests bitterly, ” I HAVE NO WINE”.

    We as women need to stop complaining about others as if we have no power over our circumstances, or those whom God has entrusted to us. Jesus entrusted the human person to us in a beautiful way. We literally have an empty space within us that longs to nurture life–an empty space within us that has the POWER to nurture life. When you see a human person in need, nurture that need. When you see the human person around you hurting others with sin, nurture that need by bringing the need straight to Jesus.

    This is the power of Mary’s intercession for us. This is the power of woman’s intercession. This is the feminine genius that melts the coldness of the world with a tenderness more powerful than sin itself.”

  2. positively pure
    July 23, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    Reblogged this on positively pure.

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