All of us who are involved in Catholic ministries to the criminal/carceral world are responding to that call, but determining it is different today than in the past, as this article from Crisis Magazine reports.
“When God calls you to do something,” the speaker cautioned, “your only response is, yes.” I saw a number of heads nodding in agreement, but I sensed a question stirring in the heads of others: “But how do I know when God is calling?”
It’s an important question. In fact, there is no question more important for Christians. For how can we follow Christ, if we can’t tell his call from that of the culture or of those darker angels that would lead us into temptation or prod us to another have-to, got-to, need-to duty that seems good and feels good—and maybe, is good—but is not God sent?
The answer is, we can’t—without first recognizing the means by which God calls us.
Prior to Pentecost, God called individuals in four ways: Directly, through some physical manifestation of himself (the burning bush); indirectly, through divine messengers (angels); subconsciously, through a dream or vision (Jacob’s “stairway to heaven”); or personally, through God incarnate (during Jesus’s earthly ministry).
But what was the norm then, is exceptional today. The Christian who waits for a theophany or Danielic dream to receive a word from God, could be waiting a long time. And, yet, while God’s call may no longer come through angelic visitations or blinding lights, it can be discerned with the help of two books: The Book of Nature and the Book of Scripture.
The Book of Nature
The psalmist tells us that God speaks through his creation: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hand. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.” And since humans are part of his creation, God speaks through human nature too.
Our design, as with any intelligently crafted object, reflects our purpose and, thus, is indicative of what God may or may not be calling us to. Here, the Socratic dictum, “Know thyself,” is particularly apt.
Retrieved March 20, 2018 from https://www.crisismagazine.com/2018/tuning-call-god