Finding…Knowing My Calling, Part 2 of 2

A Lenten personal reflection…

À la Jesus’ baptism, often I’ve wished I would step out of my morning shower, soaking wet, blinking, wiping water from my eyes and seeing clearly who and why I am. That hasn’t happened. Nevertheless, I believe that I can know how to arrive at an awareness of my calling.

Three biblical models…

Like Jesus’ baptism and wilderness temptations or Moses at the burning bush,[1] a voice or vision is heard or beheld. Sometimes, the voice is audible and the vision external. Sometimes, the voice speaks in the murmur of my conscience and the vision, in the kaleidoscopic imagery of my dreams.

Like young Samuel, who, hearing a voice, thought Eli was calling. Eli, the old, wise priest, perceiving that God was calling, counseled Samuel, “If the voice comes again, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening’.”[2] Sometimes, a trusted friend, colleague, teacher, mentor, or therapist has helped me translate a word that I received so to make sense of it.

Like the disciples after Jesus’ crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension, seeking a successor to Judas Iscariot, established a rule that it must be one who had known Jesus during his earthly ministry. They prayed, then cast lots, the choice falling on Matthias.[3] Sometimes, I’ve received guidance from a group, committee, or my village of family and friends to discern the outlines and process for making a determination.

And, sometimes, I’ve come to know the truth of my calling via all of these means – I have dreamed, sought the counsel of a valued advisor, and joined others in prayer and action.

Still, sometimes, it’s hard to know what my calling is. The most and best I can know is how I come to know.

All said, I’d love to experience a heavenly voice breaking through the clouds of my confusion, saying, “This is it!” or “That’s not it!”

Nevertheless, knowing the kind of experience I’d love to have is, in part, the point of wrestling with my calling. For it’s about showing up, being present with myself, and then shutting up and listening. And this I do know is the purpose of Lent.

© 2023 PRA


Moses and the Burning Bush, James Tissot (1836-1902)

Eli and Samuel (1780), John Singleton Copley (1738-1815)

The Choosing of Saint Matthias (detail), Philip Galle (1537-1612); after Maerten van Heemskerck (1498-1574)

[1] See Exodus 3

[2] See 1 Samuel 3.1-10

[3] See Acts 1.15-26

2 thoughts on “Finding…Knowing My Calling, Part 2 of 2

  1. Thank you Paul! I read this several times and learned a lot from part 2. I’ll continue to ponder the importance of wrestling with and knowing your call.


  2. Loretta, this is something that I (slowly!) have begun to figure out for myself. That there is a difference between role and responsibility. A role, which often can be associated with (or signified by) a title — e.g., in my case, priest or rector and, in your case, security professional or motivational presenter/speaker — comes with responsibilities. The role can remain the same, however the responsibilities can change.

    For example, I, as a rector, may chair the Vestry and, in another situation, the Senior Warden serves as chair. Hence, my responsibility changed, but my role did not.

    For example, you, as a motivational presenter/speaker, may conduct a training session with or without LEGOs or for a group of caregivers or family members of loved ones with dementia. The responsibility in each case can change, but your role does not.

    In the same way, my and your calling (or vocation) remains the same, however, in each situation, what is required to fulfill it can change. Thus, always, there is the necessity, I think, of examining one’s calling, so to remain true/faithful to it and to discern when something else/other is called for to fulfill it.



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