Love lies at the heart

This year, in the run up to Vocations Sunday (which is next week), the National Office for Vocation asked several religious - nuns, sisters, brothers, monks, friars and priests - plus a diocesan priest to share briefly something of our call and our motivation. We were also asked to submit a photo of ourselves in which the focus was our congregational symbol, or habit. My contribution is here, and you can see the full gallery by scrolling down this page.

At first glance we may appear a disparate bunch: fifteen adults of varying ages and backgrounds, seeking God and following Jesus in a variety of ways. At first glance the differences in our clothing alone highlight the differences in our ways of life, and the call each one has received - whether to priesthood, brotherhood, apostolic or monastic life. And if you read even just a few of our profiles you can see that each of us responded to the NOV 'brief' in our own, distinctive way, according to our uniqueness as well as each call and charism.

But, despite these differences, our vocation quests hold many similarities, no matter the age, background or charism of each one. We all know ourselves to have been called by God, in whom we seek to root our lives. We have all fallen in love, however we express it, and remain captured by the One who is Love. We are all, in our own ways, passionate and bold enough to follow an unseen - and at times unfelt - Someone who attracts, fascinates and beckons with a soul-searing call. And we have all looked about us - and continue looking, seeing pain, wounds and brokenness alongside many signs of hope, and of God's presence; and we want to do our part, whatever it may be, however small, to contribute to the healing, hope and restoration our world so desperately needs.

Love lies at the heart of everything each of us is, and what we are about: God's love for us, known in his call and invitation, and our response and desire to be transformed into that love, in and for the world. Whether we live that love in a monastery or in mission, as sisters or brothers, this is the fundamental similarity, the unifying force which calls and takes us beyond all our apparent, outward differences. So, as you scroll down the NOV gallery of profiles please do say a wee prayer for each of us and for our communities, that we - and those called to join us - may all become more and more women and men filled and ablaze with God's love, making that love known in the diversity of ways to which we are each called.