Vocation 1: Belonging


How would you describe your vocation? (Today.)
Write your Answer – click here

Transcript of Video:

When I say vocation I’m not talking about a job. I’m talking about your identity. I’m talking about who you are as a child of God. What has made you up. How you have been equipped, sensitized, empowered. The kind of access you have to people, wherever and however. The question is how have I been uniquely formed to bear the beams of God’s love where I am. We all have vocations. Some of us have a portfolio. Some of us may have a calling card that actually in sync with our vocation. But vocation is a much deeper reality than our job. By virtue of our baptism, we have a vocation.

If you’re waiting on a job, waiting to find a job, waiting to get out of a job, waiting to get back into a job, you’re not on vocational hold. I think there’s a reason why today isn’t tomorrow. Don’t live your life leveraged into the future. The future which you hope will happen, maybe some days demand must happen, and in a certain shape and form. Don’t miss the moment. The invitation for living life is in the present moment where God is going to be most present to you and with you, within you and around you, is now. And if there is to be a tomorrow, you’re going to need today to prepare you for tomorrow. Don’t cut in line.

So in the meantime, claim your vocation that you’re a God bearer. You are teaming with God’s light and life and love. Don’t grasp it. Don’t squander it. Let it go. Let it go and let it flow.

– Br. Curtis Almquist


  1. Sr. Donna Morgan on April 11, 2014 at 09:25

    I am thankful that I have finally come to an understanding that everything that has come to me in and happened to me in my life, God has used to teach me, mold me, temper me and strengthen and empower to do what He wants me to do for Him. The most important thing in my life is to be a servant to the Lord; all other things come after that.

  2. LindaR on April 10, 2014 at 16:58

    I’m in transition — searching for a job as well as my identity. Thank you for this reminder that they are not necessarily the same thing! Safety is new and still feels somewhat overwhelming. My history is full of terror and bad aftermath, but also some profoundly beautiful spiritual experiences of God’s love, both directly and through others. It scares me to think what all of that may equip and sensitize me to do! There is a call, but I’m not ready to open to it yet. I want to run both from and toward the possibilities. For now, I’m trying to be still enough to listen for God. I’m praying for others, loving them as much as they can allow, and trying to heal — to work through my mess and get it out of the way enough that I can get better at seeing what others need that I can try to do, with God’s help.

  3. Win on April 10, 2014 at 10:59

    My vocation this week has been to be with my husband, brother, and niece. So good to be able to visit and live with each other. It’s been quite interesting to see how many of us here (this blog) refer to being retired. Such a blessing to be in a place of our lives where we can actually spend time in doing and being those things we’ve felt called to be and do. My prayer is that I (and everyone) always be willing and able to do those things God calls me to do and be. I believe with God’s help I can!

  4. Barbara Harris on April 9, 2014 at 12:25

    Childcare. Caring for my family and those children in daycare at the local Episcopal school.
    Hospitality. Preparing meals and hosting social events at my church.

  5. TM on April 9, 2014 at 09:58

    My vocation is helping people. It’s displayed in what I do, teaching special needs teens. BUt I’ve worked as a job coach and as a caregiver in a staffed apartment for developmentally disabled men. I’ve worked in psychiatric ward for children, and I’ve worked at a school for students with severe-profound physical and cognitive challenges.
    Over the years, I also see that my “job” vocation mirrors my spiritual vocation. I help people because I see the face of Jesus in all of them. I’ve done jobs that are not pretty, but there was always light and love interwoven.

  6. Casey on April 8, 2014 at 10:28

    Live in this moment…it creates the connection to God and the flow that brings tomorrow. How can I make this moment, this day speak to the gift of God’s love? Much of that is not planned, it’s how you meet the world and the stranger on the corner and the cashier at Ace Hardware. Some of it is planned, some hours with a dear friend, caring for our neighbor’s dog, making a healthy dinner for my wife, connecting with an elderly church friend about helping with her move. Retirement affords an oh so different flow and that flow is my vocation.

  7. Marilyn Weir on April 8, 2014 at 08:00

    I learned and became aware some years ago that my main purpose in this life is to work on my inner self and to love. There was a lot of damage done in my youth and I grew up hurt and scared, and confused about how to be in the world. I have done a lot of inner work to heal and ‘find myself’. In the past six years of receiving the Eucharist and contemplating on Christ, I have healed more with deep-rooted fears disappearing. With this healing I am able to love more and be a more loving person in the world.

  8. MRM on April 8, 2014 at 07:33

    For most of my career, my vocation seemed clear and presented in my work. Advancing with faith into legal and political contention, on behalf of the faithful, while supporting and encouraging those it was my responsibility to manage, to be their best, to pursue their work and their vocation.

    In transition now to something new, as I wait to see what the fullness of time will bring, I am reminded that loving my family, protecting them and being there to support and encourage them is a part of God’s work for me too. And I am amazed that small things I can do are received as great value in some of the spaces where I have the opportunity to act.

    But to remember to approach each individual who comes to me for any purpose, with God’s love, to see that person’s needs with God’s eyes, and to work with or for that person with God’s hands . . . that is the vocation to which we are all called, and that I hope to learn.

  9. Lisa on April 7, 2014 at 22:49

    Can the present moment last longer than a “blip”? Not usually, in my life. I love the excitement of starting a new project, lining up the pencils, paints, hay bales, shovels, whatever is needed. And I love washing up, putting away, clearing the fields for the next project. In between, I fly through the middle “accomplishing” the task one tiny “blip” after another.

    When Brother Curtis said, “(T)he present moment where God is going to be most present to you and with you, within you and around you, is now” my entire sense of time and space let go. I no longer felt
    “blipped” by my need to rush from one moment to the next.

    I understood in THAT present moment that it takes time and space and willingness to come in and sit beside, to listen, to witness, to remain long enough in the present moment to let it take shape. Long enough for God to become “with”, “within” “around” me. Long enough to live. And to love.

  10. Jennie M Anderson on April 7, 2014 at 21:39

    At the end of the day, I have found myself thinking about today’s meditation several times throughout the day. I am so pleased to be getting the lesson that I am enough for what God calls me to do with my life… I sometimes think that I have to be someone different… but I don’t. I belong in this world, in the time and place I find myself in and in my current phase of my vocation… Thank you. Amen.

  11. Pam on April 7, 2014 at 17:06

    I like that Br Curtis – don’t squander it , don’t hold onto it , just let it go. There is freedom in that. Beams of love – just says to me , throw my heart out in front me and run to catch up with it. (An old Arab saying from my years in the Middle East, seem strangely apt). Perhaps my real vocation will follow…as a God bearer and not just as a medical worker 🙂

  12. Kathleen Sheehy on April 7, 2014 at 16:06

    It’s so good to separate vocation from job or career, since we have a tendency to get our sense of self-worth from a job. And that is not where our value lies. God loves us – therefore we are valuable. We are the pearl of great price He gave up His kingdom to redeem. My vocation is to be a conduit of His love. I am frequently not very good at it, but that doesn’t change the truth of the matter.

  13. Margaret Dungan on April 7, 2014 at 15:19

    I could not tthik of the right word until I read
    “Jim’s Word” “A person of assistance” Thank you Jim,
    It excatly fits a grandmother of ten grandchildren.


  14. Gloria Veltman on April 7, 2014 at 15:16

    I have tried to carry a sense of vocation into all of the work, paid and unpaid, I have done in my life. Now that I am semi-retired, I am trying to carry it into volunteer work & relationships.

  15. kristin everett on April 7, 2014 at 15:11

    i love the phrase ‘teeming/teaming with God’s light and life and love.’ By vocation i am a supporter, both in AA meetings and in my high school classroom.

  16. Tammy Lee on April 7, 2014 at 13:09

    Brother Curtis: What a wonderful meditation to start the week with…..I teach a course to college students on finding their vocation. It is always without fail well attended with students engaging fully in the life options before them. What I haven’t told them about was the power of the present moment to shape their vocation…clearly a missing link….the need to be present now in order to prepare for the not yet….As a priest I am not sure that is something I have fully grasped as I struggle with where I am and what that means for the community I serve. .I know I am being called to be open to new possibilities and indeed am trying to make room for that hope finding it a lot scarier at 50 than it was at 25…..I have lived my own call out under the definition Frederick Buechner uses….” the place God calls you is where your deep desire and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Barbara Brown Taylor talks about God saying to her ” do what you want but just serve me while you do it….” In my best moments I am conduit for God’s grace , hope, and love. Never is that more powerful than when I am distributing the sacraments….it can also be felt when I walk into the hospital waiting room and look into the eyes of worried parents or open the door to my office as someone erupts in tears knowing their marriage is over. I am a witness to their suffering even as I dare to speak of the hope to which they are called. Reminding myself of the value of being a witness to the sacred breaking into people’s lives is a life worth living and for that I remain grateful.

  17. Beth on April 7, 2014 at 12:41

    As a one of Gods children , I see my vocation is one of showing His love to my children, husband, freinds neighbors, and others that I may by chance meet along the way, as well as His creations, the earth, and its many creatures.

  18. Lynn taylor on April 7, 2014 at 12:01

    My vocation is service to families who are struggling and in pain. As a child psychiatrist my vocation and my job travel closely

  19. Sue on April 7, 2014 at 11:33

    “By virtue of our baptism, we have a vocation” I love this quote. We are called to baptism and that forms the foundation of our identity as Christians. It all leads back to that one initial gift of operative grace.

  20. Cush on April 7, 2014 at 11:22

    This reflection is causing tension for me today as I go through some very difficult times in the life of the parish at which I worship. Our vocation seems to be arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic and perhaps that is what it is supposed to be today, but it is hard.

    • Win on April 9, 2014 at 14:12

      You are in my heart this moment!

    • LindaR on April 10, 2014 at 15:52

      You and your parish are in my prayers today. What you are doing matters! Every gesture of care on the Titanic had the potential to remind people God is present.

  21. Kathryn on April 7, 2014 at 11:21

    It has taken awhile, and it has taken some scary risks….but I have come to a life/vocation of learning, teaching and encouraging. As I look back on my career, when there was space for those three words it was my favorite part of the job. Now that it is my life, I see that the enthusiasm I bring to it feels rooted in something so much bigger than me, I now understand why. I do believe I was “uniquely formed to bear the beams of God’s love” in this context. Writing that feels like speaking my name in a prayer – more bold than I tend to be. And yet we are called to approach our Creator with boldness….not sure why this feels awkward.

  22. A Gordon on April 7, 2014 at 11:06

    Thanks for todays comments they center my life where it is being retired it is even more important.

  23. Betsy on April 7, 2014 at 11:01

    I am living what is in my soul today.

  24. Jennie M Anderson on April 7, 2014 at 10:45

    Don’t grasp it, don’t squander it… let it go and let it flow… I love this part of today’s message. The way I would describe my vocation today is to say that, as I am in between positions or jobs, I am spending time with my mom who is in her 80s and together we are figuring out some stuff. I am trying to be open to what God is calling me to grow into, evolve into and to what I should be paying attention and then do that… I am a care taker who is trying to find ways to set boundaries and I learned to be a care taker with my mom… who also taught me the need to set good boundaries… perhaps this is the key to the lessons I need in order to be well prepared for the next position or job I get. Thanks for today’s meditation.

  25. Christopher Epting on April 7, 2014 at 10:30

    My vocation today is learning to be, after so many years as a leader, a “helper” — of my wife, aging father, grown children and grandchildren as they live into various transitions; and of the Diocese of Chicago as I assist the diocesan in his ministry of oversight. I no longer “set the agenda” (if I ever did!), but try to stand alongside and to be a bearer of God’s love.

  26. John Okerman on April 7, 2014 at 10:04

    Helping others. I’m retired but that is how I identify myself. I participated in activities that help others. When I spend time at church I prefer those activities that help others. Today I am attending an all day meeting as a part of a foundation that will help both teachers and students. That’s my vocation today!

  27. Steve on April 7, 2014 at 10:01

    To live with love and integrity toward wholeness as a husband and father at home, and as a servant-leader in my place of work.

  28. Selina from Maine on April 7, 2014 at 09:59

    I thought that I had settled into a vocation of expl. oring and living out a vocation of being an old person in America. But Godde in her Cosmic sense of humor has decided otherwise and I find myself not only on my fourth vestry in my third diocese ,but also on the search committee for a new rector.How do I reconcile my “just being” vocation with my very active doing, unexpected vocation?

    • Win on April 9, 2014 at 14:05

      By just “being” and “doing” Selina from Maine. Sounds like you listen to your vocation quite well
      . Win from Vermont greetings.

  29. Christopher Barnhart on April 7, 2014 at 09:58

    I am retired. My education, degree and career was in architecture. I worked as an architect & project manager for 40 years. Perhaps the finest building & most proud of I ever was my church (All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Redding, CA. Now that I am retired, I have other vocations that God has called me to do. I continue to serve on the church building commission. I am a Greeter of new guest provided prior church services. I provide provide healing prayers during Communion. I help my wife prepare for MOPS. I help serve the Homeless once a month in providing a hot food. There are my vocation.

  30. ellen on April 7, 2014 at 09:56

    Today I get to walk the dog, clean the house , manage a huge sum of money, encourage a jobless friend, meditate on the Word and pray. In particular today, I will pray for my alcoholic son to get closer to God and ask God for his vocation. God, please grant him the courage to change.

    • Deacon Susan in California on April 9, 2014 at 11:11

      Ellen, I am writing this on Wednesday so I don’t know if you will ever see it. My Now is to be on a retreat, much needed, as i start my retirement years. So I have massive amounts of prayer time, and will be praying for your son, and for those who love him, esp. you. Br. Curtis is right: “Don’t cut in line for tomorrow” or as AA has it “One day at a time.”

  31. Susan on April 7, 2014 at 09:46

    Today my vocation is to be an encourager, to be welcoming, to be an educator. I like the idea of thinking of our vocation as something that is now, not in the future or the past, but now. I like the idea of working with God to share His love.
    As I meditate, I try to be present to the moment by using the phrase–“here and now” as a way to call my mind back to the present. Thinking of my vocation as “here and now” brings me into an awareness, a mindfulness of how God is using me today.

  32. Mary Caulfield on April 7, 2014 at 09:34

    As I anticipate a major review at my job, this question is very timely. In the next academic year, a committee (whom I won’t meet) will review all of my work, the comments that have been made about my writing and teaching, my statements on my own work – and I have to remember that’s not the sum total of who I am. Who am I today? The person who will take her nephew and his fiancé to lunch. And perhaps the relationship we form during the lunch will matter more in the long run.

  33. Barbara A. Harris on April 7, 2014 at 09:24

    My vocation each and every day is to be the hands and feet of Christ in the world, bearing His love and compassion to all I meet.

  34. gwedhen nicholas on April 7, 2014 at 09:22

    My vocation today is to serve my family, and the people around me; to bring them into light and love, and give them what they need to be whole and healthy. As an organist at my church I feel that what I described is always my vocation. I hope to bring the people I serve to God.

  35. Greg Little on April 7, 2014 at 09:16

    AS someone who spent much of my life living for tomorrow rather than in the here and now I really appreciate this message. Even now that my job and vocation are more in line with each other as a priest and spiritual director in training I need to bring my vocation into as much of my life as possible – those times when I am not officially in those roles. I believe that that is our calling to make our vocations more fully a part of ourselves on a day to day and hour to hour basis.

  36. Lorna Harris on April 7, 2014 at 09:09

    As a retired person I have lots of time to reflect on my vocation as a child of God . I like the phrase God-bearer. Where am I being called today? Perhaps out to the garden where I will rake up twigs and while doing that remember people in my prayers, especially one who is at the death bed of his mother.

  37. Christie on April 7, 2014 at 08:34

    Finding one’s vocation can be harder than finding a job! It takes real listening, listening to the depths within yourself, listening to your life, listening to your community who validates your gifts, and listening to God who whispers the call. At 30, I still feel like I’m discerning my vocation. But I think it has to do with wonder — with being wonder-filled through my academic work and through my hobbies, and then sharing wonder with others.

  38. Julie Watt Faqir on April 7, 2014 at 08:34

    this spoke to me as someone going through a job search…and I really like the idea that one’s vocation is not just what we do for a living. I believe that my vocation in God’s world is to carry forth my love of God and the Church in all that I do.

  39. Tricia on April 7, 2014 at 08:25

    I have just come back from an emergency shelter for women, disinfecting matresses and pillows, and sorting bed linens. I have been retired for three years (I owned a retail business) but for the past decade my vocation has been to help the homeless in my community: building housing, offering them safe, warm places to sleep, giving them respect and love. At times I have felt very disheartened at the growing numbers of guests seeking shelter. This series has helped me stay focussed. I believe God has chosen this path for me because HE knows I can do it.

  40. Pam on April 7, 2014 at 08:11

    I did not understand what my vocation was until my late 50s. It was then, after unknowingly suffering abuse from my mother since I was a child, that I finally understood that I was God’s beloved. God began healing me in the most profound ways, and it was absolutely transformational. He really did “turn my mourning into dancing.” In gratitude for that amazing gift of life, I have an overwhelming desire to help other people know that God loves them unconditionally, that he wants to heal them in all the ways that he knows they need healing, and that he desires to have an intimate relationship with them. I am blessed to be in a church that allows me to act out that vocation formally and informally. In a formal way I participate in a healing ministry, and I am the chair of the adult formation committee. By putting on various spiritual programs my prayer is always that the participants will discover God in their lives in a more intense and real way, that they will fall in love with God as I have. And I can say that I wouldn’t trade anything that has happened to me in life because it has made me who I am today, and I love who I am now. Praise God for calling me to life and for helping me say yes.

    • Win on April 9, 2014 at 13:53

      And obviously given you great compassion!

  41. Br. Stephen Francis Arnold, OSB on April 7, 2014 at 07:07

    Today I bring God’s love to end-of-life patients and their families, embracing them with the warmth and empathy that God gives me.

    • Melinda on April 7, 2014 at 13:20

      This morning I brought a smile and a cheerful ” Good morning, how are you” to several folks I encountered at the medical clinic. I entertained good thoughts and sent up prayers for some friends/family and suffering folks I don’t personally know. I do not know what the remainder of the day has in store but I hope (pray) to be ready/willing/able to practice God’s love when the opportunity presents itself.
      Thank you Brothers for the gift of this entire series!

  42. Jim on April 7, 2014 at 06:15

    This question has frequently posed problems for me. Vocation is such a loaded term and gets bandied about in so many ways. For the sake of today’s question, I’d say my vocation is to be a person of assistance, whether it be as a librarian providing guidance to our students and faculty or as a colleague helping another finish a project or even as a spouse helping with chores or tasks.

  43. Jane Dowrick on April 7, 2014 at 05:41

    I love this session on vocation and have shared it with a friend who has been exploring different vocational options since her retirement from a job she held all of her adult life. For me, I am retiring in a few days from a job I’ve had for almost 10 years – a job I loved but that took way too much of my time and required me to be in a certain place for much of every day. Now I will still be busy with some volunteer work, much of it church related, but will have the freedom to be where I want to be (thanks to the gift of technology!), plus have time to just be. Thanks so much to all of the brothers for this wonderful Lenten program!! Love to all, Jane.

  44. Michael Kolenick on April 7, 2014 at 05:33

    Presently, I’m a retiree. But a am also a child of God, and I respond to his calling, whatever it may be.

  45. Catherine on April 7, 2014 at 05:18

    Thank you so much for this amazing and inspirational message as we begin a Monday, rushing headlong into the work week. This will help me try to discern and remember to practice my true vocation amidst the busyness ahead.

  46. Bob on April 7, 2014 at 03:24

    I’m lucky, like most people working in healthcare, in that my vocation is my calling card.

    The nature of my role means I cannot be overtly religious, but that doesn’t stop me sharing my love with the people I work with.

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