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Labor Day Reflection on Calling

sowercutoutBy Jessie Bazan

A 2013 Gallup poll on workplace engagement found that only 13% of employees worldwide are psychologically committed to their jobs. The majority of employees (63%) fall into the “not engaged” category.

Why is that?

In too many places, jobs are so scarce that people will take anything just to survive, even if it doesn’t bring much fulfillment. Being able to find meaningful work is a luxury. But I also wonder if part of the issue goes beyond what we do from 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Such disengagement may stem from not being in tune with our broader callings.

In “A Life at Work: The Joy of Discovering What You Were Born to Do,” Thomas Moore defines calling as “a sensation or intuition that life wants something from you” (17). Life wants something – but what?! Should I go back to school? Should I get a job as a painter or a dentist? Am I feeling pulled towards married life or might my gifts be better suited in a religious community? What if many options feel right in my heart? What if none of them do?

Making sense of our callings isn’t always easy. There are so many questions, so many different directions we could turn. Often, there are conflicting feelings, too.

I see this web of callings represented in the Sower and the Seed illumination. I like to think of each seed as one of our callings. Blue jean-clad Jesus is tossing out quite a few seeds on these pages! The Labor Day holiday offers a good time to reflect on the seeds Jesus is planting in our own lives.

  • Are we taking the time to tend to and reflect on our callings — all of them?
  • Which callings bring us the most joy — callings to careers, relationships and ways of living?
  • Which callings planted in rocky soil may be time to let go of?
  • How are we glorifying God through our callings?

Jessie Bazan is a Master of Divinity candidate at Saint John’s School of Theology-Seminary and serves as the Seeing the Word graduate assistant.

© Sower and the Seed, Donald Jackson and Aidan Hart with contributions from Sally Mae Joseph, 2002 The Saint John’s Bible, Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota.

Written ReflectionWritten Reflection

Illuminating Christ: Two Cures

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Compassionate Healer,
You remedied disease by the gentle touch of your hands.
Revive those areas of our lives
that need healing,
so that we might have the strength to live our faith to the fullest.
We pray in your holy name,
Amen.

Join Seeing the Word this Lenten season as we take a prayerful look into the ministry of Jesus Christ through the lens of The Saint John’s Bible. The weekly posts will feature either a prayer or reflection paired with an illumination. All content was written by Jessie Bazan, M.Div. candidate.

Illumination: © Donald Jackson, 2002 The Saint John’s Bible, Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota. Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Catholic Edition, © 1993, 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Written ReflectionWritten Reflection

Illuminating Christ: Loaves and Fishes

loaves and fishes

Think about the last time you were really hungry. How long had it been since your last meal? Three hours? Seven hours? The crowd described in Mark’s Gospel hadn’t eaten in three days. Imagine — hear their grumblings. Feel their distress.

Jesus did.

Christ was in tune with the needs of the famished crowd, so in tune that his heart was moved. His heart was moved. The surge of compassion Jesus felt for his people didn’t stay inside. The movement in his heart led Christ to act — and the result was spectacular. With five loaves of bread and two fish, Jesus fed all 5,000 hungry people. These Scripture pages are filled with bread and fish. They just keep multiplying!

Feelings of empathy, shock and even anger can be the driving sparks that ignite action. Like Jesus, we too can do an amazing amount of good in our ministry today. But our hearts need to be moved first.

Join Seeing the Word this Lenten season as we take a prayerful look into the ministry of Jesus Christ through the lens of The Saint John’s Bible. The weekly posts will feature either a prayer or reflection paired with an illumination. All content was written by Jessie Bazan, M.Div. candidate.

Illumination: © Donald Jackson, 2002 The Saint John’s Bible, Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota. Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Catholic Edition, © 1993, 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Written ReflectionWritten Reflection

Illuminating Christ: The Transfiguration

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Witnessing the transfiguration of Christ must have been an absolutely amazing moment. But soon after, Peter, James and John had to come down from the mountain. After this incredible experience, the apostles had to go back to their “ordinary” lives. But what does “ordinary” mean? Even when we return to the routine, our lives as disciples of Christ are never really ordinary.

There are precious moments during our days when we encounter the divine — our “mountaintop moments.” Maybe yours comes in the Eucharist. Maybe it comes on a retreat. Maybe the beauty of the divine hits you as you gaze at the sun setting over the lake or listen to friends share a story. These are our moments to see the dazzling white of Christ. These are our moments of transformation.

Experiencing the divine should motivate us to live differently. We may follow routines, but as Christians, we are called to be inspired; to be joyful; to serve others; to love wholeheartedly.

There is nothing ordinary about that.

Join Seeing the Word this Lenten season as we take a prayerful look into the ministry of Jesus Christ through the lens of The Saint John’s Bible. The weekly posts will feature either a prayer or reflection paired with an illumination. All content was written by Jessie Bazan, M.Div. candidate.

Illumination: © Donald Jackson, 2002 The Saint John’s Bible, Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota. Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Catholic Edition, © 1993, 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Written ReflectionWritten Reflection

Illuminating Christ: Raising of Lazarus

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Son of Humankind,
Your friend Lazarus died, and you wept. The raw ache of grief tugged at your heart.
You know what it feels like to mourn. You also know what it’s like to rise again.
Console us in our times of despair.
In our darkest days, help us to always live and believe in you,
so that we may enjoy everlasting life with you in heaven.
We pray in your holy name,
Amen.

Join Seeing the Word this Lenten season as we take a prayerful look into the ministry of Jesus Christ through the lens of The Saint John’s Bible. The weekly posts will feature either a prayer or reflection paired with an illumination. All content was written by Jessie Bazan, M.Div. candidate.

Illumination: © Donald Jackson, 2002 The Saint John’s Bible, Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota. Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Catholic Edition, © 1993, 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

 

Written ReflectionWritten Reflection

Illuminating Christ: The Eucharist

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A key concept in this passage from Luke and in the Eucharistic celebration itself is sacrifice. We see this beautiful gift of sacrifice illuminated here in three ways.

The first panel shows the gifts consecrated during Mass, the sacrifi-cial offering of bread and wine. Blood pours out of the sacrificial lamb in the center panel. The image of Christ as the sacrificial lamb serves as a reminder of the new covenant Christ promised to his people. During the Eucharistic prayer, the words of Christ ring out: “This cup is poured out for you.” How intimate. How gracious. The third panel depicts the ciborium, the vessel in which the Eucharist is reserved.

Together, these Eucharistic illuminations help us see that Christ’s sacrifice, his love for us, is ongoing. Christians have reaped the benefits of the love of Christ from the night of the Last Supper to today. And by the grace of God, this love will continue forever and ever. Amen.

Join Seeing the Word this Lenten season as we take a prayerful look into the ministry of Jesus Christ through the lens of The Saint John’s Bible. The weekly posts will feature either a prayer or reflection paired with an illumination. All content was written by Jessie Bazan, M.Div. candidate.

Illumination: © Donald Jackson, 2002 The Saint John’s Bible, Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota. Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Catholic Edition, © 1993, 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used with permission. All rights reserved.