Thursday, August 17, 2006


While I was at Taize I went to a fantastic talk by one of the brothers (br Hector), about how we can know that call God has placed on our lives. Throughout the talk I was busy scribbling away, trying to note down as much as possible. I found the talk very helpful, and it cetainly influenced my reflections for the rest of my time at Taize, especially during the week in silence.

What allows me to discover how God is calling me? How do I find my way?

There is no magical answer, each of us is unique therefore there are no ready-made answers.

Luke 5:4-11

God created things with a purpose, with meaning. Creation is not an accident. We are created as part of a larger story.

Jesus entered the lives of the fishermen, and widened their horizons, so God enters our lives and widens our horizons, opening our eyes to a whole new future. God places our lives in a wider context.

Jer 29:11 We are made for hope, not for hopelessness

God’s project for humanity is a project of love. God wishes us to participate in this project, to be inventive and creative, to be co-creators with him. God’s work of creation is not finished. God does not force us to choose one way or the other, rather He invites us to fulfil His project with Him. God places in our hearts the desire to love.

Maybe some things will remain a mystery. Jesus believes Simon Peter is able to go beyond himself. So too are we able to go beyond what we currently think we are able to do.

So what do I want to do with my life? My life finds its meaning when I participate in God’s wider plan.

What gifts have I got? God’s call is not abstract. God calls us through our own story, through who we are.

God cares about each individual (Luke 15). It is NOT logical or efficient. It is Gospel economics. We must really believe that ‘God loves me’, not just everybody en masse.

In the Bible, names signify who people really are, their true self. When God calls us by, He calls us by name, by our deepest identity.

So how do we discover who we really are? What is my deepest desire?

Desires are not all bad. We must have the courage to confront our desires, to accept that we cannot have everything, to look at our deepest desires. What are my likes? What are my fragilities? Where in my life do I need God? We must get to know ourselves. God works through who we are. We must learn what our gifts are and be willing to share something of ourselves.

We need space for us to be honest. By being listened to we begin to listen to ourselves. We cannot know everything about ourselves. There are times when we will have to take risks. But the reality of God’s love cannot be taken away.
You do not choose your name, your identity etc. God gives you your name. God knows us more than we know ourselves.

When God calls us there can be resistance. This resistance can, though not always, be a sign of having been touched. But then, how do we break through this resistance and go beyond our fears. It can be in this struggle that we discover who we are (like Jacob). We shouldn’t run away from the struggle.

God can use everything for good, even our sin.

“The glory of God is a human being fully alive.” Ireneus

“Wherever there is a human being, God is present.” Br Roger

In the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15), he comes to himself, came to his senses, he realises who he is.

In summary:

1. Get to know yourself.

2. Make a decision – in times of joy and peace, not in times of struggle.

3. At certain times we must take risks.


moog said...

Thanks for this Phil, it's very interesting, I wish I was at this talk. Calling and gifts are things I think about, but can never really be sure exactly what they mean. What are gifts, cos I find there are loads of things I can turn my hand to. I can do this work at a construction company, and I can also do work in a science lab. Very different, where are my gifts or callings....

Phil Goodacre said...

hey moog

i'm not totally sure. i think i'd tend not to take too tight a line on gifts etc. i acknowledge that there are specific spiritual gifts listed in the Bible, but in this instance i think gifts can be extended further. it's to do with who we are, what we're good at, who we've been designed to be.

this can be work, sport, study, spiritual stuff, music, art, being a friend.

somewhere else in my time at taize i can remember thinking, possibly inspired by a talk or something, that all we are called to to is be faithful to the call that God has put on our lives, not anybody elses. all we are called to do is to truly be ourselves.

Sarah Brush said...


Thanks for the summary. I went to that session two years ago but was "naughty" and spent a lot of the time at the back talking with a 20 year old about his calling to the monastic life (He entered Worth Abbey last year). It was a session within a session but I vaguely remember it being mostly like what you said.

How was Taize in toto? I missed it but married life still pretty cool so...

Phil Goodacre said...

in toto?

is that latin or a typo?

Sarah Brush said...

Latin meaning "as a whole"

nothing to do with Dorothy's dog