Weekend Reflections for 6/28/19
Today in the Liturgical calendar of the Church, we return to “Ordinary Time,” and the readings are appropriate, as Sunday’s bible readings are about following God’s call. This involves a journey of ongoing discernment in freedom at every step.
“Vocation” is our baptismal calling, not limited to a specialized calling to priesthood or religious life. As Pope Francis frequently states it, we don’t “have” a mission, we “are” a mission. But how do we identify this vocation, this mission in our daily lives?
For those of us who are familiar with the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, which we offer to over 4,000 people every year at White House, we can identify with these retreats as both a school of prayer and a school of discernment. These exercises offer us “rules” for discernment which are ways to grow in freedom rather than the slavery of a limited job description. This involves growing in intimacy with our God, who shows us the way in the path of Jesus’ journey in the gospel.
As St. Paul stresses in today’s second reading, we do this by growing in the grace of freedom. For Christian vocation is not simply growth in freedom from the “yoke of slavery,” but freedom for service, or as Jesuits like to put it, the vocation of becoming ever more “persons for others.” One helpful way of developing the habit of ongoing vocational discernment is the “Awareness Examen” from the Spiritual Exercises, which can be found on pages 41-43 of the White House prayer booklet. May your regular experience of the Spiritual Exercises, through your annual retreat as well as your daily “Awareness Examen” be the benchmark for your baptismal vocation.
-Fr. Ted Arroyo, SJ