Vocation Discernment in HK
The poster says, “Come and See”- Vocation Discernment Session (Open to All), and came they did from all walks of life- the young and seeking, the newlyweds, the single by vocation and the young at hearts. On February 4, 2018, a chilly Sunday afternoon, a group of 15-20 people filled the small chapel, the “upper room”, at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church (OLMC), Hong Kong.
This was the first time the sisters from the Disciples of the Divine Master (PDDM), had brought their popular monthly recollection from the Philippines to OLMC since the congregation started their apostolate at the parish in late 2017. The afternoon composed of a simple yet in-depth teaching on discernment by Sr. Mary Anthony Basa, PDDM,Provincial superior of the Philippine- Taiwan- Hong Kong Province, followed by two vocational sharing, one of the religious life and the other of the married life, and concluded with the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the Vespers.
Calling the intersession of the Holy Spirit by way of prayers, Sr. Anthony tackled the topic of discernment with ease, but not until after she has taken the time to get to know everybody in the room. “Every day is a discernment” said Sr. M. Anthony and with a simple Tibetan tale, she illustrated the importance of prioritizing our souls over all other aspects of life and how discernment- the act of knowing the will of God in our lives in a prayerful manner- is the key to taking care of our souls.
After sharing the importance of discernment, Sr. M. Anthony provided the tools with which each one can use to practice the act of discernment. Just as our Mother Mary was called in the state of prayer, one can only “hear” God’s calling through having a contemplative disposition. This means cultivating the habit of listening to the voice of God in the silence of our hearts, our feelings, and intuitions. To be willing to humble ourselves, to admit our short comings and be open to enter the joyful and sorrowful moments of life just as Christ did in his Pascal Mystery. Most importantly, to trust that God wants to speak to us, sometimes in ways that only we can understand and other times in unexpected ways even through social media.
To put the above into practical terms, Sr. M. Anthony asked the assembly to pair off and do a simple exercise- to describe the day from the moment of waking to the moment of arriving to the recollection session. The process of recalling the day was the first of four simple steps of discernment that she shared:
- Reading the moment- What happened?
- Reflecting on the moment- What is happening inside you? Feelings? Joyfulness? Sadness? Anger?
- Responding to the moment- What is God telling me in this feeling? Why do I feel angry? How shall I respond to that person or event that triggered this feeling?
- Reaching up prayerfully through the moment- What do I wish to say to God?
Moments of everyday lives are moments of prayers; and as we become more open and sensitive to these moments (scriptures, nature, work, joy, sadness, the other, the past), we will see that God works in subtle and intimate ways that are different for each one.
To illustrate that, Sr. M. Juliet shared her vocational story which involved following the voice of God through signs of graces and acknowledging her inmost feelings,both of which showed that God was calling her away from a stable and loving relationship, to enter the congregation as a religious sister. Paul and Deborah, a newlywed couple, also shared their own story of vocation in the married life. The couple recounted on the importance of prayer and taking the time to listen to their hearts and to the will of God before making any serious decisions.
The last hour of the session was spent in prayers and songs in front of the exposed Blessed Sacrament. Together with the sisters, the community prayed the Vespers towards the end of the session before heading for evening Mass at the main Church. (By: Amanda Wong)
The PDDM sisters would like to thank everyone for their generous involvement. Future recollection sessions are being organized and will be advertised at the parish. All are welcome. For more information on the recollection sessions or vocation discernment please contact Sr. M. Victoria at 5146 4446.