Called To Serve
What is God calling you to do?
What talents lie unused, hidden from the world, because of your personal doubts or fears?
Are you avoiding opportunities to shine?
Each year at the back-to-school gathering, teachers of the Diocese of Evansville congregate for what amounts to a giant pep session to gear up for the year ahead. This year’s school theme, “Called to Serve,” was replayed throughout the Aug. 1 gathering as teachers heard multiple times how they were called to serve: called to see Jesus in every one of the students, parents, volunteers and community members they encounter during the school year.
Father Bernie Etienne, pastor of Holy Rosary Parish in Evansville, gave the homily during the Back-to-School Mass. Again, the theme of “Called to serve” radiated throughout his message. He reminded those in attendance that although families have many reasons for sending their students to our schools (academics, athletics and, although a misnomer, “private” education), ultimately the task at hand is to provide students with a Catholic education: to share the Catholic faith with the students and model that faith through daily actions.
(Later that same day, Father Bernie was reminded how quickly God can call us to serve in a new capacity as he was elected to serve as Diocesan Administrator by the Diocese of Evansville Council of Consultors.)
We are not made to be identical in this world. Some of us were meant to walk on the weird side. Some bring a quiet, calming presence in a sea of chaos. Many bravely lead, while others obediently and faithfully follow. All are necessary to provide a balance to the world.
Again I ask, what is God calling you to do?
I believe many of us ask ourselves this question throughout our lives. During a particular time of contemplation I experienced, I was given the following quote by Nelson Mandela:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ’Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Anyone who has worked with children for a considerable amount of time can tell you it is both the most rewarding task in the world and one of the most frustrating. It takes a very dedicated, patient disciple to serve as an educator year after year, and these servants deserve the utmost respect for the gifts they share with our children.
But educators alone are not responsible for the formation of students. We are all called to provide our schools with the support they need to continue to teach in faith and love. We pray that all disciples working with God’s children follow the call to give of themselves each day and share their faith with their leadership and example.
God’s call can take on many forms. Are you listening?