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I recall this meditation from The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. As any retreatant comes to understand, these questions will be asked and answered in many ways throughout one’s lifetime. Often, answering the question “What ought I to do for Christ?” requires the prayerful labor of discernment; at other times, choices are more easily made by simply by having lived life in God’s Spirit, daily noticing how God is acting in one’s life.
As I approach the seventh decade of my life, I consider my discernments over the years (the vocation of marriage, motherhood, and multiple career paths) and life’s easier choices (various forms of service) and know that I have been blessed. While semi-retired now, friends and family use to teasingly ask, “what are you up to now?” as I changed careers—nursing to teaching, education administration to professional lay ministry in different forms, all the while being a wife, mother and, over the past 20 years, a grandmother.
In response to my deepest desire to be “useful” to God, God opened doors and gave me the grace of confidence to pass through each. From the world’s perspective, I may or may not have been successful, but I believe I was always faithful to who I was and what I did. What served me best is St. Ignatius’ words in his Principle and Foundation, “I want and I choose what better leads to God’s deepening life within me.” May God be blessed.
“What have I done for Christ?” “What am I doing for Christ?” “What ought I to do for Christ?”
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