By Sister Julie Myers, OSF
January called us to celebrate the Vocational choices we have through our Catholic faith. God fills us with special gifts that are unique to each of us and sends us out “on mission” to serve His people. It is God’s dreams and desires that guide us to live our calling. Single, Married, Consecrated life or Priesthood—all are beautiful ways of living out our Baptismal call.
I am taking an on-line course in Franciscan Studies. Our instructor, Sister Margaret Klotz, provided us with background on St. Francis’ Canticle of Creatures. She writes that “in the Canticle, creatures are seen simultaneously as instruments of praise, revelation and restoration. Francis is doing the praising through the creatures. It is the role of human creatures, especially, who become conscious instruments of praise.”
The true revelation here, for me, is that Francis did not live for himself. He did not live for his Brothers nor did he live to build a community. He certainly didn’t believe that their existence as holy men depended upon him! He saw it all as a gift from God—“and God gave me brothers.”
Francis didn’t worry that he was a symbol or even an inspiration to others, only that he was created no better, no less than the creation that surrounded him. So he used his life simply to praise God!
Sister Margaret goes on to say that “Praise is always reserved for God alone.”
In terms of Revelation, “Francis and creatures both reveal God”;
and in terms of Restoration, “The Canticle, which is of praise, is restoration to God of praise. Creatures are the instruments God uses to give himself to us and the instruments we must use to restore ourselves to God.”
Unlike my brother, Francis, I tend to focus my vocation ministry on revealing to others the life, the efforts and the good works of our Sisters as gifts for God’s people—not necessarily for God alone. We must learn from the example of Francis, who did not live for himself, about himself or to continue himself. It takes great energy to build up self! But to build up God alone to whom all praise and honor and glory are due overwhelms one with energy and life!
How does this enlightenment change who you are, what you do, and how you respond to daily life? What empowers or gives energy to your work and efforts? Is it a source that fills you to overflowing in order that you are able to continue giving or is it self-fulfilling that, in essence, keeps you empty and always working to fill that which can never be full? We must remember that we are instruments that exist to praise God through the music of our lives as we live religious, married or single life. We gift God with an orchestra!
We are creatures of revelation—whose job it is to “reveal” God to the world. We are called to be creatures of restoration, to mirror beauty, grace, humility, and passionate love back to God—simply by living and loving Christ to one another. We each are called to praise God with our lives and our “Yes” is the only response needed to charge up the gifts we have been given. We are called to live the answers—to be “instruments of praise, revelation, and restoration”.
Does that “yes” of yours stir your soul to consider living consecrated life as a way to give praise to God? Have you allowed yourself to consider it?