Discernment Leads to Life
By S. Tracy Kemme
“I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)

Stepping out from the woods into a clearing, I squinted in the radiant sun and smiled at God’s creation teeming around me. It was my first day of retreat, and summer was unfolding with great fervor. All of my senses delighted in the chorus of bird calls, brilliant flowers, blue skies, tall grass, delicate butterflies, towering trees lush with green leaves, and even the buzz of swarming insects. As I walked, I felt like I was in the midst of a great symphony of abundant life. My heart was overcome with joy, and a wondrous reminder surfaced: This flourishing is what God wants for each and every one of us.

Vocational discernment is about finding our path of abundant life, and paying attention to how we experience the fullness of life can help us. When do you feel most alive? What kind of ministry makes your heart buzz with joy and purpose? What kind of relationships delight you and allow your deepest values to flourish? When you take an honest look into your future, where do you see blue-sky possibilities for fruitfulness? What is the symphony with which you see yourself making music? On the contrary, is there anything to which you’re giving energy that isn’t truly life-giving? Where and how are you lacking and desiring more abundant life? Exploring such questions can help us gradually discover God’s call.

Discernment takes courage, because this journey to life necessarily includes death. We may have to let go of expectations we once had. We may have to choose between several holy, attractive options. We may be misunderstood by loved ones. We surely will wrestle with fears, doubts, and resistance. But even when discernment is scary, confusing, or even painful, we can take comfort in remembering that our endlessly good, loving, trustworthy God desires our flourishing. What looks like loss to us now may become life in ways beyond our imagination.

Jesus came so that all might have abundant life. As followers of Jesus, we both receive and share that gift. When we embrace God’s life-giving dreams for us, we become vessels of abundant life for building the reign of God. Simply put, God’s call leads to life. If this is true, and it is, then discernment is the best gift you can give yourself and the world.
Recommended Reading:
The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown
This easy-to-read New York Times bestseller offers 10 guideposts for what Dr. Brown calls a whole-hearted life. While her language is not always explicitly Christian, and while this book isn’t explicitly about discernment, you’ll find that the themes capture important values that help us orient ourselves as we discern our path of abundant life. Order it as a paperback, e-book, or library book, and then tune into Dr. Brown’s podcast for a six-part summer series in which she is discussing the book with her sisters.
In the Name of Love
Hospitality is one of the hallmarks of the Sisters of Charity. As Newcomers Transitions Program Coordinator S. Sandy Howe has been walking with a family seeking asylum since September 2018. Read more.
Upcoming Dates & Opportunities
SC Discernment Group 
(Sundays, July 11, Aug. 8, 7-8:30 p.m. ET)
Email S. Tracy Kemme at tracykemme@gmail.com to get the Zoom link for the above SC discernment group opportunities.

Feast of St. Mary Magdala Virtual Prayer Service (Thursday, July 22 at 7 p.m. ET via Zoom). Celebrate the Feast Day with FutureChurch! Preaching by Kayla August. Register here.
 
Young Adults in the 21st Century: A Conversation on Faith, Religion, and Culture (Sept. 9-11, 2021). This virtual conference seeks to bring a multi-generational, transdisciplinary and prayerful spirit to ask questions about, and with, young adults on a 21st Century journey of faith. $25/person. Register here.
 
Vincentian Family Gathering 2022: “Racial Equity: A Personal Call to Love as Christ Loves” (Atlanta, Georgia, Oct. 22-24). All members of the Vincentian Family are invited to this gathering, facilitated by Undo Bias Consulting. Scholarships available for young adults! Simply indicate that on the registration page.
E-Vōc is the electronic newsletter from the Vocations Team of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati for single women wondering what new thing God is calling forth in their lives. 
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