Friday, October 30, 2015


Displaying image1.PNGBy Cecilia Harriendorf, SC

What's your take on the number 13?  Does it make you a little uncomfortable?  Many people refuse to work or live on the 13th floor of a building.   Some won't travel far from home on Friday the 13th, fearing the worst will happen.  Other people respond quite differently.  Bars, restaurants, casinos and, at least, one clothing manufacturer have capitalized on "Lucky 13."

Personally, I never thought much about the number, until recently.

On August 28th, Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton's birthday, I celebrated my 13th anniversary as a Sister of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul of New York.  Hard to believe that 13 years have passed since I joined the Sisters at their house of formation.  Still, I remember that day well - a sense of excitement, curiosity and expectation all rolled into one giant ball of uncertainty.  However, as the days and years unfolded, reality replaced excitement, understanding replaced curiosity and, as I grew comfortable with the idea that God was inviting me into a new and intimate relationship, awe replaced expectation.

So, here I am, 13 years later - living and working in Guatemala, absorbing a different culture, struggling with a new language and somehow certain that I am who I have been called to be
from all eternity.  And what a wonderful grace that is.

The idea of call is older than the hills of Galilee and women and men throughout the ages have struggled with it.  So, let me try to simplify the concept. Number 1.  Everyone has a vocation.
2.  Yours is uniquely yours.  And 3.  God does the calling.   So, relax and be confident that the God who created you will be with you as you explore your special role in life.

In the meantime, here are 13 things you can do, right now, to advance your desire to fulfill God's dreams for you:

1.  Pray every day.  Don't worry about it; just do it.  God hears your prayers whether you are in bed or on a bus, in a great cathedral or a tiny chapel.

2.  Ask questions.  Learn how others came to be where they are.  Find out what educational requirements and special skills are needed.  Would they make the same decisions today?

3.  Be attentive to your inner voice.  God isn't a divine trickster.  God is a divine lover who
longs for your love.

4.   Pray every day.   Tell God exactly what you want.  Then, listen carefully.  God may have something in store for you which is bigger and better than you could ever image.

5.  Develop the virtue of gratitude.  Life truly is gift.  Be grateful, for the not-so-good-days, as well as for the wonderful ones.

6.  Talk to your friends.  They know you better than most people.  Note how they respond to your hopes, dreams and desires.

7.  Reflect on your daily experiences using the Vincentian questions:  What surprised me today? Brought me joy?  Challenged me?  Gave me hope?

8.  Pray every day.  The stronger your relationship is with God, the stronger your relationship
will be with those around you.

9.  Volunteer.  Spend some time at a soup kitchen, a rehabilitation center, a homeless shelter or a hospital.  So many places and people need your time, talents and compassion.

10.  Ask yourself, "Where would I like to be four years from now?"  Start working toward
that goal today.

11.  Reach out.  The sisters on this blog site are cheering you on and praying for you.  Call one nearby.  She will be happy to explore religious life options with you.

12.  Have I mentioned, pray every day . . . The power of prayer is extraordinary.  Don't be afraid to let it change you.

13.  Enjoy the journey.  God is intimately close right now.  Allow that presence to lead your way and shape your choices.

As for me, I'm hoping for 13 more, never dull years, as a Sister of Charity of New York.  And you?  Whether you're 13, 31 or 103, know that your vocation, your call, is both personal and profound.  Be confident that the God who has called you longs for your happiness at every age.

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