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Week Five

We pray for the following grace:

Let us pray for the grace of letting go in order to be open to God’s call.


There is desire within us to connect more deeply with God. I personally experience times of disconnection with God as restlessness and times of connection as peace. As I have reflected on my vocation over the last few years – God’s calling to me – I have felt restless. Like God was keeping an “answer” from me. My prayers to God during this time had been like Google searches, “What should I do next?” “What job can I do to disrupt unjust economic systems?” I waited for instantaneous answers but heard none. I was hungry to understand what God wanted me to do and frustrated that I couldn’t hear him.

As I prayed, I felt God calling me to listen more and to deepen my relationship with Him. I embarked on the 19th Annotation and started to see how God was spreading His light through me and felt deep gratitude for His trust in me. Still, there were times when I felt frustrated with God in prayer as I just sat silently and heard nothing. In the meantime, as the country was going through a racial reckoning, I found that the work that I had been doing for almost a decade became even more important. I poured every ounce of energy I had into my work to build the capacity of leaders to embed racial equity into their organizations. In the midst of doing that work, I became ill, yet I kept pushing. I burned myself out until I had nothing left to give and still felt like it wasn’t enough. This must be how God wants me to do this work, I thought.

When I was growing up, I had an odd desire to be a Saint. But the Saints I learned about seemed to always suffer and lead somber, joyless lives. I think I unintentionally internalized that model of holiness. That to serve God, I must be miserable as I serve others. But the God that I have gotten to know is full of joy, humor, love, and compassion. That God reminded me that in order to spread light and joy to others, I too must be joyous. As I had nothing left to hold onto, He asked me to let go. Let go of my idea of what I thought He wanted me to do. Let go of external expectations of what success looked like. This invitation to surrender helped open up my heart to a more spacious interpretation of vocation. One that is centered on the question, “Who is it that God calls me to be?” It led me to the understanding that my career is just one way that I can live out my vocation. I feel a deep peace in sitting with this question and not forcing an answer.

A few months ago, I walked by an unhoused woman who seemed like she had not eaten in days. I had a chai in my hand so I handed it to her. I saw God’s face light up in her as she joyously received the drink. I also heard God nudge me in that moment to look outward, give generously, and live joyously. I think that God’s call to us comes through both prayer and service because we are not the center of either of these things – God is. It helps us see the bigger plan God has at work so that we understand our own roles as contemplatives in action. We can hear God’s call if only we let go of what we think we should be doing and take the time to listen to God about who He is molding us to be.


For I know well the plans I have in mind for you — oracle of the LORD — plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope. When you call me, and come and pray to me, I will listen to you. When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me — oracle of the LORD — and I will change your lot; I will gather you together from all the nations and all the places to which I have banished you — oracle of the LORD — and bring you back to the place from which I have exiled you.

Jeremiah 29:11-14

Questions to Consider:

  1. In praying through the reflection and scripture, what is God saying to you about your own vocation?
  2. As you continue your journey this Lent, what new insight have you gained to put your vocation into action for God’s and God’s creation? 

We find inspiration in the words of Sister Thea Bowman, A Servant of God.

“What does it mean to be Black and Catholic? It means that I come to my Church fully functioning. That doesn’t frighten you, does it? I come to my Church fully functioning. I bring myself; my Black self, all that I am, all that I have, all that I hope to become. I bring my whole history, my traditions, my experience, my culture, my African-American song and dance and gesture and movement and teaching and preaching and healing and responsibility — as gifts to the Church.”

From Sister Thea Bowman’s 1989 address to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Closing Prayer:

Patient Trust

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new.

And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.

Prayer of Teilhard de Chardin

Andria Seneviratne

Andria Seneviratne

Andria Seneviratne lives in Rockville, MD and like a good immigrant child, she lives way too close to family. She loves finding God in nature, people, and prayer. She is passionate about disrupting the status quo and reimagining ways in which all of God’s people can thrive. Andria is Director at FSG where she works to create equitable economic systems for people working in low wage roles, especially those who have been historically oppressed. Andria is also the D.C. Regional Coordinator of the Contemplative Leaders in Action, an Ignatian spirituality and leadership program for young adults.