Yesterday being Good Shepherd Sunday, when the worldwide Church prays for vocations to religious life and the priesthood, my social media feeds contained many inspiring articles and quotes, amid challenging questions. There was other inspiration too, courtesy of the London Marathon, and the grit, determination and valiant commitment of the runners, the majority motivated by the desire to raise money for charities, with which many have personal connections. But the focus for my reflection has come from something posted the day before on social media by the Turvey Benedictines; words by St Anselm, whose feast it was:
Have you found, my soul, what you were seeking? You were seeking God, and you found God to be that which is the highest of all, than which a better cannot be thought; you found God to be life itself, light, wisdom, goodness, eternal blessedness and blessed eternity, and to exist everywhere and always.
The post added a comment about the connection between finding God and discovering the best of what we need, in order to flourish and live good lives. And really, that is at the heart of responding to a call to religious life. We come seeking God, or - as I experienced it - seeking "more" of God, and God, who is life itself, will not only allow himself to be found, but will amazingly be for us more than whatever we were seeking. And if this is indeed what God has created us for, then we will most surely flourish, most surely grow and respond to both challenge and affirmation. Whatever our challenges and difficulties and low points, we will find light, wisdom, goodness and eternal blessedness - and within all this, the joy of becoming our best selves.
It isn't easy - but the seeking and the finding, the surprises and the blessedness are more than worth it.
PS: And if you are searching for God and fullness, and are open to a call to religious life, maybe this can help you discern...