Recently I had a chance to travel home for a family reunion. It has been a long time since I had been in a room with SO MANY people who looked so much like me. It was wonderful to hear people people speak like me; no accent, using the same words and phrases that I do. Sometimes when talking with my sister I heard us say the same thing at the same time or I could look across the table and know we are thinking about the same thing. It was very cool... Family is about who we are and often the people who we share the most things in common with - its genetic. We can't choose who are family is and as it turns out they are always a part of who we are.
When discerning a vocation and people are faced with the dilemma that there are so many different religious communities they could join and they don't know how to make a choice. Sometimes at the Glenmary Vocation office we get emails sent to us from people who have visited OYE or Vocation Vocation Network websites in order to find out about the different communities. Both are great organizations which people can use to get in contact many different religious communities at the same time. After which discerners have asked me "How do I decide between the different communities?" At first it may not seem like an easy task - how to pick between two or more options when they are ALL good choices? I think the answer becomes clear in the discernment process. We look at the charism of the community and ask ourselves "do I share the same ideals and values as these groups." We might also ask "am I better suited to live in a cloistered community or a missionary community?" Or "do I need to live with many people or just two or three?" "Can I see myself doing the types of ministry they are involved with?" "Am I more apt to stay in my own diocese or do I have the ability to travel as a missioner to a foreign place?" These types of questions help us in the discernment process to learn about who we are and where we are being called to serve.
When we enter a religious community we are in essence joining a new family. Maybe all the members don't look, sound and think exactly as we do but we do share in some common beliefs, dreams and visions. Community life is not always the easiest but we know that our brothers in community are going to support us for the rest of our lives and that we want to share in the life and ministry that they are part of. Glenmary's oath that all members profess ends with these words: "... bound in a covenant with the other members in the Glenmary community, I ask for their support and loyalty and pledge to them my own."
The Glenmary Family shares the same mission, prays, lives and works together for the same common goal of spreading the Good News and building the Kingdom of God. Are you called to be a part of the family and share in that same dream?