Friday, March 22, 2013

Ministerial Choice

Here's one question, which I think many potential vocations might be thinking about.

--How much does
choice have to do with the type of 'work' one ends up doing? (Awkward phrasing)

A long time ago the attitude towards type of work reflected what the Missionaries of Charity still practice--you should be able to accept doing
any type of work anywhere in the world.

Some applicants may prefer (and be more suited for) one type of apostolate rather than another, within an institute, but know that the institute has a variety of apostolates.

Does preference play any role at all? 

My Answer: 
There is an understanding in Religious life that one embraces it with an attitude of self-giving and abandonment to the Will of God as manifested in the will of one's Religious Superior. The whole purpose of embracing the life of the vows is to be stripped of one's will and preferences for the love of God (and this is an important qualifier) so that one gains the freedom of the spirit to follow wherever God's will leads us.

But having said that, I must also add that in my Community at least (I can only speak for mine), a spirit of dialogue and consultations is normal. Consideration is given to the Sister's talents and abilities and consideration also as to where she can serve God and the elderly best. Now, it will happen that the needs of the Congregation will dictate a different approach. Taking myself as an example, my Community has always used my training as a nurse in all of my assignments. But in my recent change of position, my Community is asking me to function in a role I was not trained for or had no previous experience in. This is where the Vow of Obedience comes in. In other words, yes, leadership looks at your potentials but are not always bound by them. This is where religious ministry differs from a regular job. Religious life always look out for the common good, not just oneself. We constantly remember that one does not become a Sister / Brother just to do good works. As Mother Teresa used to say," we (religious) are not called to be successful but to be faithful." The actions of a religious are not her own. By freely embracing the vows, we surrender our will to the will of another. If a Community goes by the practice of what I had just described, well and good, thanks be to God, but it doesn't have to. That's why religious life is a vocation. Not everybody can accept this attitude. God cannot use us effectively if we do not venture out to paths unknown and untried.
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