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Discerning What is Ours to Do

Seeking God’s Will

Thursday, August 25th, 2022

You need to find what is genuinely yours to offer the world before you can make it a better place. Discovering your unique gift to bring to your community is your greatest opportunity and challenge. The offering of that gift—your true self—is the most you can do to love and serve the world. And it is all the world needs. —Bill Plotkin, Soulcraft

Once we have discerned “What is mine to do?” it can be tempting to believe we have settled the question once and for all. However, clinging to a single answer may limit our ability to grow and to trust the ongoing guidance of the Holy Spirit. After founding the CAC, Father Richard remained open to discerning anew how he might serve those on the margins. He explains:  

In the mid 1990s, the head of the Franciscan Order in Rome said that he wanted each province in the world to send someone to Africa.  

I spoke with my spiritual director about it. We agreed that I was probably experiencing “success guilt,” feeling that everything had come far too easily to me. I think I still live with this. I really didn’t seek or search for such success, but now I am used to it. I am used to having power and used to being listened to and being kowtowed to. It’s dangerous when you are always the person that others are listening to. I guess I was afraid I was becoming too well-known and that my ego had gotten too big! So when this invitation came from Rome, I said, “I think I should go to Africa.”

I left CAC for a thirty-day discernment retreat with Maryknoll. My goal was to discover God’s will for my life, but I was fully expecting to go to Africa afterward.

Near the end of the retreat we each sat down privately with the leadership team of four or five wise people, primarily nuns. They told us what they saw and heard and thought, so we didn’t have to take the decision on by ourselves. Nor did we have to follow their recommendations. We could go back to our own superiors and make the final decision.

Well, the leadership team told me, “We are convinced that you have a gift for America—to preach the gospel to a first world country. There’s not much point in you talking about the poor in Kenya; you need to talk about it in North America.” It was the consensus of the whole group. They said, “It’s your decision, but we strongly recommend that you stay here and keep doing what you are doing. If you are worried about your success guilt, well, you can worry about it!”

I remember driving back from San Antonio, Texas, all the way through the Guadalupe Mountains, and everything was beautiful! I felt so happy, relieved and recommitted to working with the Center for Action and Contemplation.

Reference: 

Richard Rohr, Essential Teachings on Love, selected by Joelle Chase and Judy Traeger (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2018), 181–182. 

Explore Further. . .

Image credit: Jenna Keiper, Untitled (detail), 2020, photograph, Bellingham, used with permission. McKenna Phillips, Free Hands (detail), 2018, Unsplash. Jenna Keiper, Untitled (detail), 2020, photograph, Albuquerque, used with permission. Jenna Keiper & Leslye Colvin, 2022, triptych art, United States. Click here to enlarge image.

This week’s images appear in a form inspired by early Christian/Catholic triptych art: a threefold form that tells a unified story. 

Image inspiration: What is next?  We may want to know, right now. We may want this suspended droplet of water to drop, right now, but it will take its own time. It is beyond our control. We are invited to trust the suspension of liminal moments.

Story from Our Community:

I am a Jewish subscriber to the daily meditations, having heard of the site from a cherished Catholic friend. The CAC and other online resources inspire me to begin walking paths that best fit my age, skill sets, resources, and priorities to work for loving action in the world. —Jill M.

Share your own story with us.

Prayer for our community:

God, Lord of all creation, lover of life and of everything, please help us to love in our very small way what You love infinitely and everywhere. We thank You that we can offer just this one prayer and that will be more than enough,  because in reality every thing and every one is connected, and nothing stands alone. To pray for one part is really to pray for the whole, and so we do. Help us each day to stand for love, for healing, for the good, for the diverse unity of the Body of Christ and all creation, because we know this is what You desire: as Jesus prayed, that all may be one. We offer our prayer together with all the holy names of God, we offer our prayer together with Christ, our Lord, Amen.

Listen to the prayer.

 

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