[Blueboard] Fwd: Vocation Week - 2nd day Reflection

lblanco at aps.ateneo.edu lblanco at aps.ateneo.edu
Tue Feb 24 17:04:40 PHT 2009

Please post.  Thank you.

Vocation Week
February 16-20, 2009
Ateneo Professional Schools
Rockwell, Makati

Reflection for the 2nd day
(February 17 - shared during the Homily period at 12:15pm Mass)

Tuesday of the 6th week in Ordinary Time/Seven Founders of the Servites
Genesis 6: 5-8, 7:1-5, 10	Ps 29	Mark 8: 14-21

When Sr Meny asked me to give this sharing on vocation, I said yes
right away.  When I found out that the readings of today were about a
monster flood and some clueless disciples, I was flabbergasted.

Let me begin with the gospel: it seems to show a rather frustrated
Jesus berating his disciples, as he asked them over and over: do you
not understand? One can almost imagine him thinking: now why did I
choose these morons? A rather awkward passage to reflect on vocation.

We can understand this in its context: Jesus?s miracle of the
multiplication of the loaves and fishes, followed by the demands of
the pharisees for a sign. And so Jesus warns his disciples against the
leaven of the pharisees and Herod, and urges them to see beyond the
material bread which they have forgotten to bring, and to understand
that he is the bread of life.

When I look at my own life, I can empathize with those hapless
disciples, slow-on-the-uptake, always taking things literally. You
see, I came from the other school, the one which a jesuit famously
called ?that God-forsaken university?. I was in the art studies
department. What the fine arts folks created, we took apart, or, as we
like to pompously say, ?deconstructed?. And so trained in art history
and criticism, I approached my faith life in much the same way:
analyzing everything, badgering the Lord for signs. Just like those
know-it-all pharisees, I asked for signs according to my own terms and
conditions: if I?m good to you, Lord, will you get my dean off my
back? or, if you really, really, really love me, then please let me
pass this course, or, how come you don?t help my family, when we are
all renewed? So many demands for signs. This was my leaven of the
pharisees and Herod, my issue of control. The real miracle was that
the Lord did not send the flood to me.

Instead, he sent the more commonplace equivalent. It seemed that my
life, for all its bright and shiny promise, became waterlogged with
this undercurrent of discontent. As an art teacher, I taught my
students how to look, how to listen, and yet I could not see the
miracles he quietly created in my own life. I loved UP, was passionate
about art, and yet I realized that for all of that, I had not given my
heart to anything or anyone beyond myself. And so my journey began,
seeking my true vocation: the original creation story that God first
planted in me. However, being a drama queen, this journey many times
felt like the flood instead: God destroying what he had created, so He
can renew life in me again. Because I struggled with its place in my
religious vocation, I gave up art, only to receive it again, that is,
to discover, 10 years after, its rightful place in my life. Neither
God nor the Cenacle demanded this sacrifice. That was part of my drama
to God, part of growing up. And yet now, as I look at it again in the
context of our readings, it seems apt, because the story of the flood
is connected with the creation story. The animals were also destroyed
not because they were guilty as well, but because they were associated
intimately and inseparably with human life on earth. Thus, when we
venture on this journey of finding out who we truly are, the
radicality of the search takes us to the roots of our being, where the
gifts that we have taken for granted and misused, could now be
surrendered to our Giver, who will restore them in their proper order.

I believe this is one way of looking at our vocation: a journey to
seek our heart?s deepest desire, that dream of our life which is
really one and the same as God?s dream for us. But along the way we
experience a lot of choosing, a lot of purging and cleansing. And
along the way we ask for signs. But what kind of signs? In yesterday?s
gospel, Jesus refused to give the Pharisees a sign because they were
demanding proofs. Today he reminds the disciples to look beyond human
needs and see him as the bread of life. He is all that they will ever
need. It is the same invitation to us as well: Can we find him
sustaining us day by day? Or do we content ourselves with the leaven
of the pharisees and Herod, because we have eyes that refuse to see,
ears that refuse to listen, hearts not trusting in the miracles of
everyday, our daily bread.  The sign in the story of Noah and the
flood comes in the end, which we will hear on Thursday. God promises
an everlasting covenant, not just with us humans, but with all
creation. To remind us always of his faithful, creative and renewing
love, He sets a rainbow in the sky. Jesus points to no other sign but
himself, as our bread of life.

I believe that my vocation is something which I share, not just with
my Cenacle sisters, not just with all other religious sisters,
brothers and priests, but with all who desire to be God?s friend. It
is to help others see, to help others hear, to help others understand,
that God?s promise of faithful love and care is always close by, and
that life is full of miracles, as commonplace as bread and as wondrous
as a rainbow.

Religious of the Cenacle

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