by Rachel Worden, Postulant
I was invited to participate in the Race for Vocations shortly after I began attending St. John’s. “Race for Vocations…What’s that? Was it a typo… did they mean “vacation”? I’d race for that!” By the following spring, God had rescued my prayer life and led me into deeper relationship with Him through Eucharistic Adoration and a thirst for the Sacraments. I had learned the meaning of “vocation” and had begun to grasp the truth that through the grace and inspirations of the Holy Spirit each of us is called to a specific role which no one else in the past, present, or future can accomplish. According to God’s perfect providence, fullness of life is imparted to us through the living out of our calling to the Priesthood, Religious Life; Sacred Married Life, or Sacred Single Life. Each of our vocations is divinely designed to bring about our ultimate happiness, through chiseling us into our best selves! I signed up for the race.
Running has never been my forte but I faithfully (pun intended) hopped on the treadmill to offer up my training. I had never before thought about praying for my own vocation, let alone praying for anyone else’s, but that is exactly what I did. You’d better believe I was storming heaven with prayers, and not just through training but during the race itself and ever since. I owe a heartfelt “thank you’ to all who are promoting and participating in the Race for Vocations. Your witness, prayers, and hard work are beautiful offerings to Christ and He uses them all to bear fruit in the world! Being part of the “mobile cheer block” in a sea of racers proved to be a great example of the universal Church and the joyful excitement in the air was practically tangible as we wove through the city on a mission of evangelization. Although I didn’t have a clue who many of the other blue shirts were we were all supporting each other as we ran the race for Christ. “I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith” 2 Timothy 4:7.
Now that I am living religious life with my Sisters I can appreciate prayer even more. Community is hard but incredibly beautiful. It’s interesting to reflect on how I’ve become part of this Franciscan family when just a few months ago I gave up my car and cell phone, packed up my suitcase, and moved in with about 100 strangers. I was concerned about feeling cut off from the life I knew before entering the convent but the notes of encouragement and prayer requests I’ve received from friends, family, and even those I hardly know have been a great witness to me and a source of consolation and joy. How beautiful is the Bride of Christ, the Church! I am honored to participate in our devotion of perpetual Adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. This was what drew me to the Sisters in Mishawaka and it is what sustains me day to day as I lay everything down at the foot of the Cross; my own intentions and the needs of the whole world.
Imagine that you’re planning a huge trip; the most incredible vacation you can think of. How would you feel with this thought of paradise lingering in your mind? Sure, you would still go about your daily life and accomplish your duties but the excitement and joyful anticipation of your upcoming plans would undoubtedly provide the rhythm for each day. “What should I pack? Who will I be with? What will we do?” We are actually planning for a big trip, our ultimate destination: Heaven. “How will I choose to respond to God’s graces today? When I want to complain or argue about something will I redirect my mind and heart to love as Christ or think only of myself?” The uncontainable thoughts and excitement we experience are sparks from a firestorm of love: the Trinity who dwells in each of our hearts, who is constantly at work in us, and who desires that we contemplate and appreciate this Divine Presence not only within ourselves but in everyone we meet. The planning of this eternity-long paradise is our vocation: our path to life. “How is God calling me to grow today? Are my heart and will in tune with His?” There is no stagnancy in the spirit; we either make the steep and narrow, uphill climb to holiness or take it easy and slide down the other side. Our vocation is like a guardrail along the path, the supplies in our pack and the treads on our soles. Wouldn’t we be wise “gear up” and encourage others to do the same? Everyone has a vocation. What’s yours?
Rachel Worden is a postulant with the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration in Mishawaka, Indiana. She grew up in St. Malachy Parish, Brownsburg and worked and attended St. John the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis. She is a long-time participant in the Race for Vocations prior to entering the convent.