Over the summer I got to know a bit about St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, also known as St. Edith Stein. Edith was born in 1891 to Jewish parents. She lost her faith and then eventually converted to Catholicism in 1922, became a Carmelite nun in 1938 and was gassed in Auschwitz in 1942. She earned her doctorate in philosophy and was a teacher until she had to give up her position under Nazi influence.
This is one of my favorite quotes from her:
What is my vocation? Some months ago I verbalized this intention for my life “I want to live my life for Jesus, to be at his disposal.” Strong words, big intentions, not easy to follow. Why isn’t it easy to follow the intention? Because I don’t always know what he wants me to do. And the busyness of life masks our true vocation at times. Sometimes I console myself that while I may not be doing what he wants, I’m certainly doing good. All that doing good though is not a substitute. I can always tell when I am in that mode of doing good things but not necessarily what I am supposed to do. Instead of feeling at peace and energized, my energy lags and all the plates I am spinning leave me feeling burdened. I am capable of spinning quite a few plates if they are the plates I need to be spinning.
Teresa’s words remind me to look at the big picture. Not just will it matter for one hundred years or five hundred years, but will it matter for eternity? My goal is “the light of eternity”, nothing less.
This writing focus is enabling me to gain a perspective on my vocation. Certain parts of my vocation are set, I am a wife and mother. While those roles are ever evolving, they are constants in my life. The other part of my vocation is “a worldly profession.” That is the part that needs attention right now.
I am striking out to put myself at Jesus’ disposal. How? By writing, by teaching, by providing spiritual nourishment for others, especially for those who minister, professional or in service, in the Church. As people who minister to others, we give much of ourselves. Sometimes we need to rest, to be refreshed, to have someone listen to us who has been in that situation or offer feedback on our ideas. One professional to another.
Our vocation is what we offer to God as thanks for what he has given us and to the world, so that all may come to know him.