by Anne Marie Brummer
Choices. Life is all about choices. One big question mark after the next: major, job, car, spouse, location, house, family, insurance. It never ends. And it’s easy to get caught up in the big questions of life.
It doesn’t help that our culture is all about the sprint. A lot of hype for one event and then it’s over never to look back. Like January 1st diets that are already broken.
But what’s beautiful about being Christian is that life isn’t a sprint but a marathon. And that marathon is completed one step after the next, just like life is made by one small choice after the next, day in and day out.
So the Race for Vocations is less about what happens on May 3rd and more about the choices you make leading up to May 3rd that form you, form your body, and even more importantly form The Body of Christ.
I love that training for the Race for Vocations happens in the cold and rainy weather of winter and spring. It takes great discipline to lace up my shoes and get outside when the cold keeps me attached to my couch wrapped cozy in a blanket. But such is the Christian life; to do what you know is right even when it’s not easy or you don’t want to: to love someone who’s hurt you; to forgive someone who’s broken your trust; to go to Mass when you don’t want to get out of bed; to pray when you don’t receive answers. The discipline of choosing yes in the small things strengthens the will to say yes in great things – to choose the virtue when the vice is calling so strongly.
Life is full of choices but it’s these choices that make who you are. So we need to focus less on the big decisions of life and more on the little decisions that create each day. And even more specifically it’s about your “yes” in each moment of each day. Training for the Race for Vocations helps create a discipline of healthy living that will then form you. And the fact that we’re doing it for vocations reminds us that it’s not just about me but my brothers and sisters in Christ journeying with me. The discipline of offering up my run for someone when I don’t feel like running in the first place reminds me of my call to love others. To endure the struggle to keep going brings me in solidarity with my friend who continues to struggle with her eating disorder — to keep fighting. Asking a friend to go on a long run with me when I don’t have the motivation to do it myself reminds me of my need for community. Saying yes to these challenges bring me to race day and I’m ready to compete.
The Race for Vocations opens my eyes to the gift of community and friendship, lends me to prayer, and reminds me that I’m not living for this life. We’re not made for comfort. And we’re not made to journey alone. We’re made to support others on the journey, to run this race with them and all the saints who went before us. We’re on a team racing for vocations. And a vocation changes everything. Each vocation starts with a yes and we’ll never know the power of a single yes. Just think — Mary’s yes changed the course of humanity for all of eternity.
Vocations strengthen the Body of Christ by allowing so many other yes’s. The priests in my life who have said yes to their vocation have become the distributers of grace in my life and in the lives of so many. The yes my parents said to each other brought my life into existence, and now I have the opportunity each day to give my yes as a daughter of God serving as a missionary on a college campus.
I need to constantly remind myself that life’s questions aren’t going to be answered today. Thankfully each day isn’t race day. But the choices I make today, my yes, will both bring me to game day and make a big difference on that day. All the Lord wants is my yes. My yes in this present moment. That yes will make me. And I in turn will make the Body of Christ.
Anne Marie is a FOCUS Missionary who calls Teutopolis, IL home. She is serving currently at the IUPUIcampus in Indianapolis for her fifth year and has been involved in the Race every year. She’s famous for her monster cookies, she enjoys time outdoors, and doesn’t know her rights from her lefts.