09 What your Vocation is not - Rachel Penate

posted Jan 16, 2019, 8:07 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Jan 16, 2019, 8:08 AM ]
The energy in the room was palpable, and I could feel it reverberating around the room, capturing the attention of even the dullest and most unexcited person in the gymnasium. I was 13, and at my very first night of worship and adoration, hosted by a local parish. From the moment I walked into that boisterous space, I knew I was in for something special. I was ready to be challenged and changed.

And then I hit a nun!

OK, that sounds dramatic. I didn't hurt her, I promise! But the events that led up to, and followed, that innocent jab to the shoulder were totally and completely dramatic in my own feeble experience.

I had been minding my own business, dancing along (a little exuberantly) to a song that I didn't know when - BAM! - my fist made contact with the shoulder of an unsuspecting nun. Embarrassed, I apologized; she smiled, and I moved on with my awkward pre-teen dance moves.

But then, a woman from our group said something that rocked me to my core.

From about three seats away, with an all-knowing grin, she said, "You know… if you hit a nun, that means you become one, right?"

You couldn't have peeled me from the floor at that moment, if you tried. Those words were like a death wish. How did I cause this to myself? I didn't want to become a nun! I didn't even know what extracurricular activities I wanted to be involved in next year, let alone my vocation!

I was devastated. I was anxious. And I carried those words in my mind and heart for a long time, thinking they were true.

More than a Guessing Game

What I didn't realise until (unfortunately) much later, is that the vocation God has in store for us to discover is not a game He plays with us. It's not like the 'Sorting Hat' from Harry Potter, assigning us to our future community despite our input, or like some maze we have to navigate in order to arrive at an ending we are blind to along the way.