I recently read in America magazine an article titled, “Dear Millennials: Run, Don’t Walk, to Your Vocation,” by Catherine Hadro. (https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2018/08/24/whats-answer-millennial-fears-trusting-jesus) It is written not just to the Millennials, but to Gen X, Gen Y, i-Gen – all of us.
I am not a Millennial, but I empathize with this current generation. Like Hadro’s description of them, My vocational discernment also was riddled with “what ifs” – and lots of questions and unknowns. I was paralyzed by the fear of making a wrong decision and finding my life and good humor sucked out of me. After all, my single life was allowing me lots of self-fulfillment and world-expanding opportunities at work and with friends. I could not imagine what poverty, chastity and obedience could add.
But God does not give up easily. Faithful to prayer and my discernment, I finally realized, with the author, that “prudence is not holding back – it is discerning how best to move forward.”
Eventually, I did. In baby steps, as formation requires. Now, one year after professing perpetual vows as a Sister of St. Joseph, I find myself “living the dream” I could never imagine. Being “forever vowed,” I am finding, means being “forever wowed.” Being “forever vowed,” I have found, means forever free. It’s a freedom that enables me to not only know myself, but to share myself as genuinely as I am able, with my community, my family, my friends, with those whom I serve. It’s not a perfect freedom, but an ever-evolving one. That’s life – lived to the full.
Yes, I have not only entered, but embraced The Congregation of the Great Love of God. And I belong.
–Mary Flick, CSJ