I, however, have not been called to the religious life.
But I have been called.
In his document Christifidelis Laici (articles 60-63), John Paul II recognized the role of the lay faithful in the church. While most of us are not called to the religious life, our role as a lay person is still a vocation. As mothers, fathers, teachers, mailmen, store clerks . . . we are out in the world, mingling with society and acting as representatives of our faith. In many ways, we are on the "front lines".
In this document, John Paul II wrote that to be an effective apostle of Christ, there are three specific areas of integrated formation that help form the whole person. These areas are:
spiritual formation: all that affects faith and prayer life and what relates directly to your personal relationship with God
doctrinal or intellectual formation: includes all that helps you to form and expand your mind and intellect, including reading great books and continued faith formation
human formation: deals with your human nature and those things that help you grow humanly or socially, including manners, etiquette, personal habits, nutrition, exercise
Well. It's a good thing I wasn't called to a religious life because I can barely manage these three areas. I lack human formation when I neglect my exercise routine or when I don't reach out to someone; I neglect doctrinal formation when I waste too much time with secular novels and mindless television; oftentimes, too many times, really, I neglect my prayer life.
But I have a vocation, so I am trying to teach myself to step back every once in a while and re-evaluate my life, because I have noticed, in those moments when I have experienced true peace, those times have been marked with a balance of all three areas.
As we approach Pentecost Sunday, which coincides wonderfully with Mother's Day (motherhood . . . now that's a vocation!) I am thankful for the Holy Spirit. Just by asking, gifts such as fortitude (thanks, Lisa), wisdom, counsel, and understanding can help me become that whole person called by God.