The best thing in the world

The other day work took me to a primary school, where I admired displays of RE work. On one wall, several children had written about being called and chosen by God, and what they thought this meant. Mostly, they wrote of discipleship and following Jesus and making him known, but one child began their contribution in a most arresting way: I think being called and chosen by God is the best thing in the world. To which I could only respond with a hearty Amen!

And indeed, anyone reading this who knows - truly, deeply, knows - that for which they were created and to which they have been called, will surely attest to that. Be it marriage or religious life, radical service or giving one's life to a cause; whether or not our starting point is God or our language that of vocation, knowing our true call can bring with it a sublime joy, even though what lies ahead may well feel daunting, appear too immense, or undoubtedly bring more challenges and further, deeper searching all along the way. And yes, when you know that this call and choice come from God... then it is indeed the best thing in the world.

Today I am quietly celebrating the fifteenth anniversary of my perpetual vows. Fifteen years (and more from before) of God's patience and tenderness, his fidelity, grace and strength. Fifteen years of ever-deepening journey into the depths of the Heart of Jesus, of mission and learning, and weathering some hard times and pain together, in love and with love. Fifteen years since I publicly professed my perpetual YES to God's amazing, humbling, awe-inspiring choice and call, at times baffling, while simultaneously utterly right... and certainly, for me, the best thing in the world.

I prepared for my profession as part of a group of twelve, and most of us were professed together, so on this shared anniversary my heart embraces all these companions from ten other countries on every continent. And some of my prayers are also heading towards a monastery here in England, where later today a friend will become a novice, entering a new, more intense stage of prayer, personal growth, preparation and ongoing, focused discernment of her call. As she ponders and searches and discovers, may she too come to know God's call and choice, and know them, truly, as very much the best thing in the world...