Listen to the Spirit… adapt as needed…
stay longer where you are drawn…
“I ask Jesus our Lord that I might not be deaf to his call in my life and that I might be ready and willing to do what he wants.” – Spiritual Exercises #91
“This prayer period is devoted to a consideration of three types of persons. Each one of them has come to have quite a few possessions – not always acquired in the most honest way or with the best of motives. In general, each one is a good person who would like to serve God, even to the extent that if these possessions were to come in away of being open to God’s invitation, each type of person would like to be free of them.” – Spiritual Exercises #150, 151
“Each of you has a personal vocation which He has given you for your own joy and sanctity. When a person is conquered by the fire of His gaze, no sacrifice seems too great to follow Him and give Him the best of ourselves. This is what the saints have always done, spreading the light of the Lord…and transforming the world into a welcoming home for everyone.” –Pope Benedict XVI
Suggested Song: “Dream” (Priscilla Ahn)
Grace to seek/ask: To become more aware of our deepest dreams and most authentic desires…to trust more fully that God speaks to us in these deeper places of our hearts…
(Before you play the song, ask members to get in-touch with whatever dreams they used to have for their lives…maybe when they were little…and any dreams they may currently have for their lives…)
This check-in portion is meant to be a brief sharing about how each of us is doing physically, emotionally, and spiritually as we come to the meeting. Please share for a few minutes about how you are doing, based on the following questions:
- Since the last time we’ve met, what has given you life or drawn you closer to God?
- What has drained you of life or drawn you away for God?
- Please describe any significant encounter with God in prayer, service, or relationships with others.
Tonight we’ll spend some time introducing the topic of “personal vocation.” We’ll spend more time on this topic later as we journey more deeply as a group, but this initial meeting will hopefully help to stir within us some feelings, thoughts, and deeper listening in prayer about our unique callings in life.
“Personal vocation” is a term that refers to our individual callings from God and is used often in CLC (though not exclusively in CLC or Ignatian spirituality). Some of us may be aware of or use to this idea and term. Some of us may have never heard it before–and that’s okay. But as we expand and deepen our understanding of what it means together, we can begin to pray and discern these special callings in our lives. That’s part of what CLC is all about–helping each other “discover and live fully our personal vocations”. So that’s why we’ll introduce the topic tonight…to help us get a better idea of what this CLC group can be about and to ask God to help us listen better for our callings as we move forward as a group.
Let’s begin by looking together at the handout “Gods Dreams, Our Dreams” that introduces personal vocation by helping us to explore the dreams of our lives…(Read the handout together out loud or silently.)
Listening and Sharing
- Sit silently with the handout’s opening questions for a few minutes:
Do you believe that God has a dream for your life?
…that God knows what is best for you?
…that God’s plan for your life is ultimately good for you (and not just good for God)?
…that you can discover and help to shape this plan–this dream–for your life?
- Is there a question that strikes you most from the ones above? What thoughts or feelings arise within you?
- How have your dreams for your life changed over time? Were there any commonalities among these changing dreams…any core thoughts, feelings, or desires?
- What do you now dream for your life (for the immediate and/or distant future)?
- How might God be inviting you to listen more deeply? Are there any concrete ways you are being invited to explore God’s dream for you at this time?
These are questions that allow community members to listen to and share about what is moving within them after the focus exercise. Specific questions about the focus exercise can be included here, but facilitators may choose to approach this time differently, such as with more open ended questions, etc.
- What has struck you as you have been listening to others share? Do you notice any patterns or similarities?
- How have you been feeling throughout the meeting? Comfortable? Anxious? Curious?
- Is there anything you would like to share after listening to another person share?
- What stays with you? What do you hope to return to in prayer at another point in the week?
Thank you to those who hosted the meeting. Thank you everyone for being present and participating. Let us remember and lift-up one another in prayer, especially for any special intentions which may have surfaced through our conversation tonight.
Before we end tonight, I’d like to suggest that we each try to spend some time in prayer and reflection before we meet again on the topic of personal vocation. Maybe you might feel drawn to spending more time looking over tonight’s handout and to talk to God about whatever thoughts and feelings it brings up for you. I also have another page (“Beginning to Pray with Personal Vocation”) that you might find helpful.
Remind everyone about the date, time, and place of the next meeting.
A Discernment Prayer (St. Frances Xavier Cabrini)
I have not always recognized your loving plans for me. Every day, with the help of your light, I learn more of your loving care. Continue to increase my awareness of the gentleness of your loving plans. I want to follow the purpose for which I was created. See, I am in your hands. I need you to help me choose the best way to serve you. Walk with me, Jesus. Stay by my side and guide me!