Vocation 2: Offering
Who has shown you what it means to be a person of love?
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Transcript of Video:
Some of the call in John’s gospel is for us to be people of love. We’re called to be part of a community of love. So all of us have been called to this. This is what Jesus is inviting us to, to be part of a community of love and to love one another and to love those in need. And so what would that look like for you.
Jesus says that he has come to lay down his life for his friends and then he invites us to do the same thing. He says, “I’m calling you also to lay down your life for others.” And I think we do this in a multitude of different ways and there’s all kinds of ways that we do this day by day by day. The people that we live with, the people we work with, the people that we associate with, we’re constantly called to offer ourselves to be channels of God’s love to others. And how that will look for any one of us, as some of us may have a particular role to fill or some particular vocation in terms of a career or a job in which we feel like that’s our primary way of living out this call, but all of us are called to be it.
So maybe you are called to be the one who cares about elderly people in your parish or the one who takes care to notice and remember the names of the children that live in your neighborhood. Or maybe you’re called to be the one who brings a small gift, maybe baked goods or a card or something to someone in the hospital. Or maybe you’re called to be one who listens deeply to others. There are so many ways that we can lay down our lives in love for one another. So all people share that calling. All of us have been called to that. And we will find in that loving service such a great and high calling and purpose in life, far beyond any other goal that the world can offer to us. This is where we will really find our joy and our satisfaction because we’ve been made for this.
– Br. David Vryhof
I learned to love from so many people in my life, my parents who had me kneel at their knees and say a simply good-night prayer, a brother with whom I sang duets, my sweet husband who showed enormous patience as he taught me the Catholic view of Christianity, the priests, one in particular who counseled me when I so needed it,
and, last but not least, you at SSJE who have tutored me with your good sermons. THANKS!!
Since I have been a small child, I have felt a bond; a connection to my fellow humans. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t feel this way, so I believe that every single person that has come and gone in my life or those that have stayed, have taught me to be a person of love. God’s calling for me has always been to teach his children, no matter what their age. I can teach by example and pray that how I live and what I project is the most powerful expression of love. This is the work in progress that I believe will be the driving force every day that I am here on earth. Every day God’s love is being honed in me so that I can teach and show it to others in the manner described above.
My priest. He’s always cared and listened and found ways to help. He’s said, “Whatever it takes” and actually meant it and followed through on that, for me and for many others. Also my brother. I appeared in his life without warning, yet he responded with total acceptance and love. They’ve taught me what it is to feel loved and valued.
My grandmother and grandfather. My memories of them is that of unconditional love. Sharing an afternoon with them, a slice of warm homemade bread when we came home from school. Watching my grandfather make his primitive drawings and pouring over the seed catalogue with him to plan the years gardens. Simple but they loved me and shared their lives with me. I am eternally grateful for their love.
First, my mom has shown me what it is (and is not, frankly at times) to be a person of love. As I’ve grown to know my parents as fellow adults with foibles of their own, I do know several sides of my mom. But there is a loving, caring side she shows in many ways as a mom, wife, and person. Also, my students have shown me over the years what it means to show love and kindness for anyone in their path. Granted, teens aren’t always the kindest people to one another. But I’ve also seen genuine love and genuine remorse and reconciliation, and that speaks even louder.
This is not a simple question to answer. Even though I know my parents love me, there’s been a lot of pain, disappointment and confusion there. I think the person who has had the greatest influence on me is a dear friend I call my earth angel. He is a man much older than me who was constantly there for me through a prolonged and serious illness when no one else really was. He is kind and caring and giving. He is the one person I can call and spill my guts to when I’m deeply hurting, angry or scared. He has helped me become more humble as well. I’ve learned much about love from him.
The homeless people I volunteered with in Northern California showed me what it was to be a person of love. People with so little being so appreciative of the Eucharist and modest lunches we provided for them.
My grade 5-6 teacher showed me this in her care for each of her students, in her allowing us to be ourselves, and her trust that we would be the best we could be even if she wasn’t there to supervise us. There have been other mentors over the years who have reached out to me and listened to me. Then there are the people who don’t show me love but from whom I have received unrelenting criticism and judgment. I may seem odd to include them as an answer to this question. But they have taught me to love even in the most difficult circumstances. Some people who are very toxic and negative I stay away from; others I feel have troubles they are projecting on to me and I would like to be closer to them if they would allow it. In either case, I still try to open my heart to them in love.
Lorna, I am so glad you pointed this out! Actually, I think I may learn the most about love from those who I feel may have given me a difficult time! Even Jesus said it is easy to love those who love you. The real trick is to keep loving those who do not! There is the real test of what love is all about. Thank goodness though for all those wonderful positive examples of Love.
I am blessed with loving parents who are still alive, a wonderful and generous sister and brother-in-law, and two grown nephews who are in relationships with amazing women. We’re a small family, but we persevere and do our best. I’ve also received the gift of courageous and prophetic friends in Christ, from the parish where I’m a member and also from mission volunteer work. Many of my friends have experienced suffering and loss, but they continually show me how to be reborn.
My grandmother, Mary and a few dear friends come to mind; the key quality they all share is an ability to maintain respect for themselves with a deep knowing that they are loved by God. These qualities enable them to be fully present to others, bringing delight and making one feel uniquely special.
From Bro. Vryhof’s talk today, I was moved by “your vocation will bring you joy and satisfaction because you were made for this.” Often, I fall into the habit of not trusting what I have been “made for”, doubting my truth and judging my gifts as ‘not enough’. But when I accept that who I am and the gifts I can give to others are valuable–then I experience pure contentment!
One person who springs to mind is Mom Riegel. A bunch of us hung out at her farmhouse when I was in college. She absolutely twinkled. Her hugs were the best. She was full of joy and invited everyone into that joy. Mom R was never trying to analyze people or figure them out; I don’t think she had a judgemental bone in her body. It was all love.
Thank you for making me think of all the peple n my life that have showed me what it is to love.
I think my grandchildren have shown me. Children are so loving and accepting, with a hug and a smile and a proud,”look at this”. They are God’s messengers to me.
I choose today to honor my spiritual companion Sister Alice of the Community of the Transfiguration, who has shown me so much about love as it ,manifests in everyday life.
You are indeed fortunate to have my dear friend, Alice, as your spiritual companion. Hope she’s feeling better!
I am on retreat here at the Mother House. Today we blessed a prayer shawl for Alice.
My grandmother always had a way of welcoming me into her presence when I am quite sure I was the last person she wanted to see….my mother, her daughter, never really left the nest and was a pathological dependent….and yet, Nana never once made me feel as if I was intruding on her sacred time of renewal when we would arrive , yet again, for the entire weekend…..there have been many others who have loved me along the way….mentors who challenged me to personal growth, who forgave my sins against them because they knew I knew not what I had done, my current boss who really will go out of his way to find the lost sheep in our collective flock….my Godmother who brought me up in the faith my gently guiding me toward God, my college chaplain, an Irish Dominican turned Episcopalian who endured long hours of me talking about the boyfriend dujour….strangers who did something unsolicited and kind for me…..the Holy Spirit whose intercessions are made up of ” sighs too deep for words and who intercedes because we know not how to pray…..”
There are many people who I could choose. Three people come to mind: my Mother, my wife, and my boss from college. Each of these persons showed how they truly care about other people. My Mother was always kind to everyone and I think that has “rubbed off” on me. My wife is the individual who cares for members of her family and she has shown how consistent and caring she is in this area. My old boss, Chuck, is one of the kindest and most caring persons I know. He talks about other things but when I observe his actions towards others, he is living Jesus’ commandment to love others.
Family comes to mind first and I am reminded of the challenges to this notion that emerge in a professional environment where such values are not understood, held or valued. I am grateful for the colleague who said I was somewhat strange in that I seemed to treat relationships with people as being sort of “sacred.” While he did not consider the comment to be a compliment, I considered it to be just what you are talking about today – my way of showing love. I will NOT give it up!
my friends… my priests… those who have gathered around because of choosing one another… my co-workers… and my family- into to whom I am born and who I choose… mom and dad, and my son, especially, and my grandson – he has shown me the call to healing love… so many show me the call to love just by being… it is good to be reminded of how God’s love happens…
I was not loved as a child by either parent. I think I learned to love my children by negative example. My husband is also limited in his ability to love. So, I cannot say that I had any human example. But it was when I knew that I was God’s beloved that I understood about and learned how to love. I love because he first loved me.
I think I learned to love in recovery. We have a saying about service — “Service is love with its work clothes on”. True in all facets of my life today.
I would say that my family taught me to love. They brought me up with love, so I, hopefully, follow their example. The Sisters of Saint John the Divine in Toronto also played a part, and also you Brothers have shown me how to love, both myself and others.
Thank you. I am so grateful to every one.
My wife, Jo Ellen, is the finest example of one who is called to Love. Jo has spent most of her life caring for others in need. Jo was trained in college to be a nurse. But more than a typical hospital nurse of office nurse, she chose to work in be many types of nursing, she worked for a year as psychiactric nurse in a childrens psychiactric nurse. Then she chose to be a public health nurse working to better her community. She worked the foster care families and children. She worked as director of maternal child health in a large city/county in the public health department. She is retired now but continues to use all her experiences for the betterment of the community she lives in. At church she is a lay euchrist minister. She recently was appointed to privide the eucharist to those who for one reason or another can not regularity attend church services. She cooks soup for the needy and homeless once a month with five other churches in our community in conjuction with Shasta Community Health Services, a private organization that provides free health services to those who are homeless. She leads a program once a month within our church for Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) providing a place for children to play in the church nursery and mothers to chat with other mothers. All this she does willingly, selfishly and thanklessly out of her Love for others. She is what God’s Love for us is all about.
My dear Godmother, who claimed me as her own! Josie Dunbar!!!! She is with the Angels now but I can still feel her presence!
For me, as for many who have been so fortunate, the family has been a primary “school of love.” I had devoted parents. I have been married twice (my first wife, a high school sweetheart died in her fifties; my second, a cherished colleague with whom I fell in love years later). I have two adopted children, both of whom have brought joys and challenges. Each of these have shown me love in a variety of ways, and have called forth love from me in return.
I have been greatly influenced by my deceased grandmother, who was a Nazarene minister. She projected love to her congregation each Sunday and to her family always. This has carried on with me as I visit with patients each day in the hospital as Chaplain.
Who to choose? So many people have shown me what it’s like to be a person of love that I’d be hard pressed to choose one. So, I’ll choose two for now. My mother has always been a source of love for me and my family, always giving of herself and showing us how much we are loved. The second is my great grandmother whose arms were always open when I visited and whose face would brighten so much when I or other members of the family visited.
Most of all, God’s Holy Spirit has taught me to show love to others. People in my community, including clergy from my church and heads of non-profit volunteer groups have given me the opportunity to express that love.
It might sound like a cliche but my mother is the person that first comes to mind when I think of a person of love. Not only has she loved and cared for her seven children and grandchildren but she has embraced the offspring of my father’s infidelities. We all ” rise up and call her blessed” This extends to people in her church community and the ever growing extended family
Because of her I am learning to be a more loving person. I am in my sixth decade and she still lovingly guides me
You are blessed!
So many people have shown me what love means.
I work in health care with children, and that exposes me to an amazing opportunity to see love in action. From parents, from professionals, from whole communities. The efforts that people go to with a child who has a disability, or a life-threatening cancer, is beyond comparison.
But the ones who love those who have been abused, and work to take safety in to those children, never get the recognition they truly deserve. There’s is the work that is done in quiet, and which deserves true praise.