From a Creighton Student's Perspective
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
November 19th, 2008
Senior – Pre Med majoring in Psychology and Spanish
What do I most enjoy doing? What am I good at? What do others most need from me? These three questions are the key to discerning one’s true calling. Wholeheartedly following that call brings us the peace and joy that can only come from living out our vocation for God.
To me, today’s readings are a lesson on humbly using the gifts God has given us for his greater glory. As we see in Jesus’ parable in the Gospel, the first two servants used what their master gave them to earn their master more, for which the master rewards both of them. The third servant, however, hid away the gold coins out of fear, which infuriates his master. If we read this parable through the lens of the gifts God has given us, the story becomes one of encouragement to do great things with our talents. Let us not be like the third servant and hide our talents and shy away from our vocation out of fear of the unknown. The analogy clearly points out that we will be rewarded for using our gifts to further God’s Kingdom here on earth.
Recognizing our talents and using them to serve those around us, and therefore God, is the first and often the most difficult step. I gain a lot from approaching the discernment process through the three questions at the beginning of this reflection. I have been spending a significant amount of time pondering and praying about my vocation over the past few months as I apply for admission to medical schools. Interviewers at these medical schools often ask me why I want to become a doctor. I give many reasons for my desire to attend medical school, but in terms of my talents, I recognize that God has given me a sharp brain, the fortitude to stay in school for the next six years, and a passion for service to others. At this point, I have discerned that my vocation is in health care and that I will best serve God, through others, via a career in medicine.
Discernment, however, is an ongoing process. We have a tendency to associate “discernment” with “decision”, which is simply not the way to view the process. Even after we make a decision, we should keep discerning whether it was the best choice, because, as my spiritual director puts it, “discernment never ends in clarity.” Regardless of where we all are in our lives, we can continue discerning whether we are on the right track, doing something that brings us joy, and fulfilling the need of another person through our work.
The final aspect to making the most of the gifts that God has given us is humility. We can employ this sense of humility in our work by remembering the Ignatian value Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (“For the Greater Glory of God”). If everything we do is for the greater glory of God, we are not taking any of the glory for ourselves. In this way we can be like the angels in the first reading who “throw down their crowns before the throne,” (Rev. 4:10). Our own crowns are the talents and abilities that God has given us.
Instead of wearing our crowns proudly for our own glory, let us offer them daily to the service of our Master, the original Giver of those gifts.
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