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Contemplative Leadership


A Sacred Voice Is Calling You

Recently, I was on a retreat and met daily with a spiritual director. My meetings with her were a blessing. During these conversations, I spoke of my experience with prayer and meditation while on the retreat. She listened to my struggles of maintaining my center … being mindful of my heart as my mind sought to be heard.

In one of our meetings, she recommended I read John Neafsey’s book, A Sacred Voice Is Calling[1]. (Please note here, I use the term “calling” for an architect, a medical doctor, designer, song writer, clergy, or parent, and for any role which helps mankind.)

In A Sacred Voice, Neafsey references Michael Himes, author of Doing the Truth in Love, for the three questions he proposes for discernment and decision making of a calling:

1. Is this a source of joy for you

2. Is this something that taps into your talents and gifts, engages all your abilities – and uses them in the fullest way possible?

3. Is this role a genuine service to the people around you, to society at large

I am clearer than ever before about my own calling today; and I am grateful to recognize for me that all three of the requirements that Himes describes are true. The calling comes from allowing myself to being "pulled by the future."

In the briefest of words, this calling is to help others develop a deep-rooted relationship with God as they know the Divine, in all they do … because the energy of God is in all we do.

Importantly, also for me, Neafsey writes: “It‘s possible to experience different callings at different times in our lives, or to experience multiple callings, different callings at any particular time of our life.” As I look back at my own life transitions, this perspective brings meaning as well as solace.

I recognize previous life decisions now not as missteps, rather that many carried the weight of a calling. I reflect on how these callings have prepared me for my next calling and for who I am today.

A Sacred Voice is valuable for the language and depth understanding the qualities and nature of the calling I now respond to … and helping me do that better; and I pray for clarity ... to more fully understand my purpose as it unfolds?

Neafsey writes “Sometimes careful listening reveals that our true calling is not to do more work, or better work, or different work, but to a reordering of our priorities”, and “As we consider our social responsibilities as citizens of our country and our world, though, our callings extend beyond our personal circle to an ever-lasting network of connection and solidarity with people both far and near” … arguably, I suggest, a quality of the elder.

To be brief, quoting John Dunne (The Reasons of the Heart), Neafsey offers” It is when the reasons of the heart become known in the mind … that insight occurs.”

[1] John Neafsey, 2006. A Sacred Voice Is Calling. Orbis Books, Maryknoll, NY.


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