A few months ago, my guardian angel bracelet sparked a conversation with a woman on my flight who was particularly curious about the relationship between my life as a student and my life as a Catholic. When asked about my career aspirations, I shared my dreams to work in national security, but she seemed rather disappointed in my response. She conveyed to me that she did not feel it was a calling fitting of a “good Catholic.”
I am not sure why it left me feeling so inadequate. Sure, I smiled and nodded, but could not help but feel disappointed that she felt that my hopes did not amount to something worthy, or that my dreams could not be deemed a “calling.”
I continue to return to today’s Gospel when I have come to the end of my plans. An enduring declaration of Christ’s heart for us, I am stretched by its simplicity, as it exposes the places where I allow what He is asking of me day-to-day to be complicated. I begin to spiral into doubts over whether my hopes are really worthy. My crisis of mission leads me to a cycle of self-seeking and of striving to earn a love that I already have. Yet, I am gently reminded that He has never asked me to do those things.
He asks me to remain in His love. (See John 15:9.)
In this reality, the exaggerated anxieties about what I am called to fall away, as I remember I was made by Love and for Love. I am extended the heart of a generous Father, and He asks not that I fight or earn my way to Love, but shift my posture so that I may remain in It. I am not asked to shape my own worth or create an image that I am a “good Catholic,” but allow Him to complete my joy. I walk in the freedom that He dreams far bigger than I do, so much so that He desires me to share in His own joy.
These spiritual exercises offer insights into how to receive God's love and love as He does.
Sarah Erickson is a politics pre-law major at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. Born and raised in Arizona, she finds great joy in mountains, lattes, American history, and the piano. She is constantly discovering Christ's wild love in the little things. You can find out more about her here.