What advice would you have for someone discerning a vocation as a Franciscan?
Fr. Placid Stroik, OFM, Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Motherhouse chaplain, shares his response to this question: What advice would you have for someone discerning a vocation as a Franciscan?
Openness to something new is at the root of discerning a vocation as a Franciscan and all major decisions in life. Openness to the people around one often suggests the calling, not a choice. The vocation is not a choice among many options or alternatives. The vocation is a sense of “not having a choice”…I want only this. I have no choice. Something like what people do at Baskin Robbins 37 flavor display counter. Hardly ever does one say: “O give me anything or whatever you got the most of”. People say: “I want_______.
Early on in life, association with the people around me suggested to me I wanted to be a Diocesan Priest working in a parish as I saw the priests in my grade school years. And even after 4 years of association with Franciscan priests and brothers in high school this wanting would not leave my head, even though my heart was shifting over to the Franciscans because I witnessed them in action; prayer, work and community living.
The shift happened after conversations with a Diocesan Priest and Franciscans and an early morning ride on a Greyhound Bus with Bishop Sheen as a companion explaining the unconditional love of God for us in all circumstances.
That moment opened the doors of my heart to something new, a freedom to let go and follow my heart, knowing God would love me. It was like Isaiah 43: 18-19 shaping my actions even without ever having heard or read it. “Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago, consider not. See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? In the desert I make a way, in the wastelands, rivers.” For me, the way to the future became clear on a Greyhound Bus: “I want the Franciscan Way of living the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”
It is this openness to something new that allows the wonders of God’s past goodness to make room for equally great wonders unfolding. So it happened that I discerned God’s goodness in my heart taking root through the goodness and values lived out by Franciscans and my opportunity to see and witness them in action.