November 3, 2017

Vocations Supplement

Waste time with God to be open to hear his call in your life

Father Eric AugensteinWasting time is at the heart of vocational discernment.

Often, when speaking to families, Pope Francis has advised parents that they should waste time with their children—set aside projects and programs, practices and phones in order to simply spend time with the people we love.

No agenda. No goals. No deadlines. No technology. Play with your children. Go for a long walk together. Share stories and hopes and dreams. Sit and watch the sunset. Wasting time with people who are important to us builds bonds and strengthens our ties. It also shows what is really important in our lives. Is it people? Or is it things?

When it comes to living as disciples of Jesus Christ, we can apply the same advice to that most important of all relationships—our relationship with God. There is no better way to grow in relationship with God than to waste time with him, in prayer, in eucharistic adoration, in serving those in whom we see the image of God.

So often we come to prayer with an agenda, things we need to say to God or questions for which we want answers. Or we set a time limit to our prayer. Or we allow ourselves to be distracted by the countless things on our to-do lists or the incessant buzzing of text messages on our phones.

But the best prayer sets all of those things aside, and simply wastes time in the presence of our Lord. No agenda. No goals. No deadlines. No technology. Just me and God, wasting time together, growing in love, opening our hearts to receive God’s grace.

And in that wasting of time with God, our hearts start to be opened to hear God’s call, to know God’s voice, to have the strength to follow him. Our restless hearts find meaning and purpose in the God who made us.

Our distracted and unfocused gaze becomes centered on the face of Christ. Our wandering in the wasteland is given new direction toward fullness and life. And God reveals to us his plan, his agenda, his goals, his purpose for each of us—what we call our vocation.

Wasting time is at the heart of vocational discernment, because in order to hear the voice of God calling us to follow him, we have to spend time with him in a way that filters out the other voices and noises that compete for our attention.

The first call—the first vocation—is always to be a disciple. Then, the more we waste time with God, we can hear the second call—the second vocation—to the priesthood, marriage, consecrated life, diaconate or a sacred single life. It all starts and ends with prayer—wasting time with God. It’s the best way we can spend our time.

In the following articles in this annual Vocations Supplement, you’ll read the stories of men and women who have discovered their vocation through wasting time with God, and, through it all, come to an abiding joy-filled relationship with him that marks their ministry to his people.

Please enjoy these stories and allow yourself to waste time with God for your own good and the good of vocational discernment of the faithful across central and southern Indiana and beyond.

(Father Eric Augenstein is vocations director for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. He may be contacted at eaugenstein@archindy.org.)

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