... decide today whom you will serve...
Joshua 24: 15b
Wow. It's been more than a month since my last post! With the start of the academic year and the transitions in our province, I hadn't realized how long it had been... There is so much to say, I barely know where to start!
First, an update on the start of the academic year. It's so good to be in my second year back at a high school. Things go so much smoother in the second year of a new ministry. There are, of course, the normal transitions at the beginning of every year. However, it's less because I am not trying to learn all the basics - lines of communication, who everyone is and what they do, the rhythm of meetings etc. Now, it's just getting used to a new group of students and a few new responsibilities. There are two exciting things going on at school this year... One, I have an intern working with me. He's some what like a student teacher, except he's already graduated from college with a degree in theology. Before now I had never had a student teacher. So it's been an adjustment. It's a good one, though. Having him around forces me to be more reflective about how I teach and what my goals/objectives are. Not that I never gave that thought before, but it's good for me to make it more explicit and have to explain it to someone. ... Second, I'm helping coordinate a new project at school for our seniors. We're just doing a small pilot this year with a few students, but we hope to launch the entire senior class next year. The project is a humanities interdisciplinary research inquiry into an issue of social justice. I don't want to go into all the details, but needless to say, I'm excited!
Now, for an update on our sisters. In the 6 weeks since I've written we've chosen a new provincial, installed a new provincial council, and named a new province director of vocations. That last piece of information is the most intriguing for me, personally. I am now the new vocations director for our province - for a term of 3 years....
This is a fairly significant moment for me. Allow me to explain.
Several weeks ago - maybe two weeks after I posted last - I was struck by the Sunday readings. I thought about blogging that weekend, but I couldn't quite pull my words together - or better yet, it was just a little too personal. The quote at the top of this blog is from the first reading of that Sunday (Aug. 26th). I was more struck by the Gospel, though. It is the end of the Bread of Life Discourse from John's Gospel. Jesus has just finished telling a large group of disciples that unless they eat his body and drink his blood they will have no life within them. Well, as one would guess, many disciples choose to leave. I imagine them saying, "Forget this. This man is nuts." Jesus turns to the 12 and says asks them if they are planning to leave, too. Peter, being the bold one who typically speaks up first says, "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God."
I read the readings on Saturday night... prayed with them that Sunday morning... and listened intently as Fr. Jim gave his homily. And it all brought me back to the same thing - Jesus asks us at different points in our lives to make certain decisions. Who are you going to serve? To what will you give your life? What about you - are you also going to leave? And in this year in which I face the prospect of perpetual vows, the questions seemed all too real. And they still do!
And now, I am serving as our vocations director. How did I discern saying yes? Great question. I prayed about it for a few days. I asked a lot of questions of our provincial (which is funny because she's the same person I bombarded with questions before I turned in my paper work to enter the congregation... So, I guess she's used to that from me). And... the more I prayed about it the more excited I became and the more ideas came to me. I almost started planning things before I said yes. That's always a good sign for me.
So this is good. Is it scary? Yes. Do I know what the future holds? Of course not. Who does? But, I do know that I have found life in this life... and I have to trust that.
Many blessings to all who read this!