For the authentic meaning of “Election” in the process and dynamics of the Ignatian Exercises is a becoming aware in growing inner freedom of God’s personal design or plan for me, so that I can accept it profoundly in my life to live it out faithfully and generously. And what, I ask, is most radically — even more radically than my state of life — God’s personal plan and design for me if not my God-given uniqueness, my deepest and truest self, my personal vocation
Herbert Alphonso, SJ, Discovering Your Personal Vocation, the Search for Meaning through the Spiritual Exercises, Kindle, 76.
Early in this book, the author helps a Jesuit father whose prayer life has gone dry. He helps him discover that that his prayer life returns whenever he prays about the “goodness of God”, the very reason of his vocation. The personal vocation of this priest is in fact “the goodness of God.”
This story caught my attention because the word ‘vocation’ suddenly no longer meant what I thought it did. What could be “my Godde-given uniqueness, my deepest and truest self, my personal vocation”? My mind drew a huge blank and I wondered whether I would ever find out.
A year passed since I read those lines. A few days ago, the idea of my vocation came back and I had an intuition. This weekend, during our Ignatian retreat in Barranquitas I went for spiritual direction with Sr. María Milagros and asked her: “Do you think my vocation might be to love Godde?” “Yes, certainly,” she answered, as if surprised that I would ask the question.
For years now, I have been asking to love Godde with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my mind and with all my strength. I remember thirty years ago visiting an astrologer in Old Delhi and asking him whether I would ever be One with Godde. “The mere fact that you’re asking this question,” he replied, “shows that you’re already on your way.”
María Milagros pointed out that this becoming One with Godde was not for now, and that’s fine with me. That it will come is enough for me.
The idea that loving Godde is my vocation fills my heart with an incredible peace and a profound joy, even though I am not sure yet how to love Godde in a way pleasing to her. In todo amar y servir, wrote Ignatius. In all things, to love and to serve.
Last night, I had a DUH moment, when I remembered that in his Principle and Foundation, Ignatius wrote that “Man [and woman] is created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by this means save our soul”… Or, as David Fleming, SJ, paraphrased it:
The Goal of our life is to live with God forever. God, who loves us, gave us life. Our own response of love allows God’s life to flow into us without limit…
Godde’s life to flow into me without limit… I have experienced this a couple of times.
Everyone of us receives the call to love Godde — to praise, reverence, and serve Her. What might sound trite to most folks echoes in my heart and spreads joy throughout my being.
Feeling called to love Godde in my daily life fills me with gratitude and hope, the hope that every little thing I may do in my day will be pleasing to the One who has created me. This love connection between Godde and me just enchants me.
Who would have thought? Life’s mysterious ways never fail to dazzle me.
Photo: Santosh Kumar Panday, Ghat in Varanasi (Do check his blog)