Called to Life {Chapters 1&2}

 

 

 

 

 

Good Morning! I’m going to say this each and every chapter we discuss…I really like this book Called to Life! I made a vlog for this week’s book club discussion of chapters one and two. A couple of notes before we get started…

1. I ran out of daylight and did not get a picture taken of the giveaway gift. So, next week when discuss chapter 3, I will have a picture ready and details on how to enter.

2. I am trying to set up a facebook community page for Suscipio…trying being the operative word. For some reason facebook and I are not hitting it off. I do not have a facebook account, nor do I want a facebook account (ever), but I realize that many people enjoy the community facebook provides. So I thought I’d skip on over there and set up an account for this website; easier said than done.

3. As mentioned in #1, we will be discussing chapter 3 next Wednesday.

4. Thank you all so much! Suscipio is barely two weeks old and the community is already growing! Suscipio is here because of you and for you, so thank you. And keep spreading the word!

 

Here are the discussion questions and notes/quotes I posed in the vlog:

 

(pgs 11 & 12) How does pride keep us from responding to God’s smaller, everyday calls?

 

(pg 15) St Therese…”Nothing except for today”

Do my actions, does my attitude, show that I believe my humble life to be a call from God? As much a call as when He called Abraham to lead the Israelites or Mary to be the Mother of God?

 

(pg 21) “Even with its trials and sufferings, life is still a gift.”

 

(pg 27) What does the author mean…”Life is beautiful and full of meaning in its absurdity if you know how to take it as a whole.”

 

Do I accept the grace present in the trials, the mundane calls, the absurdity of life? Or do I reject these calls? Could a continual refusal of these calls from God place my soul in jeopardy?

 

So let’s start discussing ladies!  Also, feel free to add any quotes or pose any questions that stood out to you as you read chapters 1 & 2.

 

 

In His Heart

Hi there, I’m Jenny. I’ve been married to Chris for 21 years. I homeschool our seven children–teen to toddler and I’m also the author of The Catholic Child’s Teaching Bible©. My life; It’s messy and beautiful and blessed beyond measure.  Stop by my other blog for quotes and photography, The Littlest Way.

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24 Comments

  1. Michelle @ justlikechocolate

    pg 27) What does the author mean…”Life is beautiful and full of meaning in its absurdity if you know how to take it as a whole.”

    I have always believed for me personally, that the absurd things that happen in my life stand out by far more than the mundane. I learn more from the absurd actions of others, or from myself, than I do from anything else. It makes me think why…and then I try in most cases to see it from how God would want a person, or myself, to act.
    This is what I see from this statement. I try to make good from all the absurd behavior that bombards me.I try to turn it into something good because of my faith.

  2. (FINALLY getting around to posting…)
    1) I think pride gets in the way to responding because we think it’s too small to be something from God. We forget that our freedom is “built up progressively and patiently day by day, by being fruitful to God’s calls.” (pg. 11 in the paperback) This is SO important to remember, and honestly, I ‘d forgotten it, too, until I read this!

    2) St. Therese’s mindset is a great one. It ties in nicely with Jesus’ saying that tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day is enough for the present. It can be so overwhelming to think about what has to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, even next year. But if we focus on this minute, this hour, this task…things can seem more manageable.

    3) Life being a call from God–definitely! Even Moses’ call was built up slowly, day by day. We are all called, and we can never really see what it is until time has passed, and we look back and see the picture.

    4) “Even with all its trials and sufferings, life is still a gift.” WOOT! Totally! This could be my life motto. I would never trade my life for anything else, even if it meant me life would be “easier”, because then I wouldn’t be the person I am today! God has trusted me with suffering. I am going to try to use it to benefit myself and all the people around me, especially when I can offer it for people in prayer.

    5) I think the answer can be found in the next sentence in the graph: “So life in some sense or other forms a perfect whole.” Everything, even the absurdities and the ridiculousness, comes together to form piece of “the circle of life” (is it too early for a Disney reference? :) ). Life would be LESS, it would have missing spots, without those “absurdities.”

    Accepting the call: I wrote about this last week (Into the fire): sometimes, yes, it’s a very scared “yes”, a frightened acceptance, because I don’t see the whole future. Mother Angelica said that faith has darkness in it–those times we have to believe without seeing the endpoint. And she was so right. And yes, I think if we keep saying “no”, it gets harder to say “yes.” We become what we do…

    Things that stood out to me: “At the end of the day (life) is full of marvelous gifts….The secret is to consent to everything it puts before us!” (28)

    “Existence is menaced by sin…but it remains essentially good” (21)–I fully believe this. Yes, there is sin which mars things, but I believe that people are generally good. There is “All so much beauty in life!

    “All grace, all fruitfulness, all moral authenticity depends on responding to God’s call” (9)

    • Isn’t it funny all that we see in hindsight? All those calls missed because we mistook them for nothing and yet in the rear view mirror they are so clear.

  3. –How does pride keep us from responding to God’s smaller, everyday calls? (pgs 11 & 12)

    Pride prohibits me from seeing Him in those around me. It consumes my entire being and robs me of the peace and joy that He desires for me. The Evil One loves to kick me when I am down. Praise God! I fight the evil one and my flesh to humble myself – the name of Jesus and Mary are my saving grace.

    My fall to pride also becomes a cross for those around me. My fall to pride becomes an occasion of sin for those around me. Pride multiples my sins at rapid pace. Most of all, pride keeps me from bringing Christ to others.

    I cannot say that I have truly grown in the virtue of humility but I have improved in my recovery time from a fall to pride.
    I must constantly pray for Him to give me ways to humble myself. Praying the Litany of Humility on a daily basis is a fruitful practice for me. A daily Examen is also key. Deliver me, Jesus!

    –St Therese…”Nothing except for today” (pg 15)

    This quote is a beautiful reminder that we must live for God, now – with what has been put before us, within the capacity that He has given us. It is not fruitful for us to try to work outside our means. It is very presumptuous for us to think that tomorrow will come.

    –Do my actions, does my attitude, show that I believe my humble life to be a call from God? As much a call as when He called Abraham to lead the Israelites or Mary to be the Mother of God?
    I have been a whitewashed tomb on many occasions – my actions did not reflect the words I spoke.

    I pray for complete surrender. He answers my prayer, when I am ready. Not when I am fully prepared or feel ready. Not in the way that I desire or plan. He answers my prayers in His time, in His way. His grace takes me to where He calls me. When I fail to consent to His grace, He showers me with His mercy and patiently waits for me to return.

    I find the most difficulty in answering His call when I set my eyes on the ways of the world. He has called my family to a radical call that is often mocked by the secular world (and some faithful). I have caved on several occasions. I continue to take baby steps towards becoming more like Our Blessed Mother and leading my entire family to becoming more like the Holy Family.

    –“Even with its trials and sufferings, life is still a gift.” (pg 21)

    My husband I just recently reflected on our spiritual growth from the past year. We noted the leaps that we have taken. They were a result of the trials and sufferings that we have recently endured – His refinement.

    I have come to realize that the suffering is the best gift. It is when I most intimately feel His presence. The suffering is a result of His love. He loves me so much that He is willing to refine me, to give me an opportunity for reparation, to become little so that He can be all that He should be.

    Yet, the trials and suffering still bring tears. Only now, I shed the tears for the pain I have caused Him due to my own sin.

    –What does the author mean…”Life is beautiful and full of meaning in its absurdity if you know how to take it as a whole.” (pg 27)

    This is what I took from the author’s passage….Life is not made up of isolated events. There are joys and sorrows. Both must be taken with equal weight and returned to Him. Everything that occurs in the life is beautiful because He has willed it. We cannot possibly appreciate the entire picture/life while on this side of Heaven. Dissecting every aspect of the picture would be a disservice, to say the least, to the Creator’s creation. Every event in life is necessary to appreciate His masterpiece.

    –Do I accept the grace present in the trials, the mundane calls, the absurdity of life? Or do I reject these calls? Could a continual refusal of these calls from God place my soul in jeopardy?

    I have experienced corrective suffering and been showered with His mercy. What can I say, I can be stubborn and often require some tough love. His grace has brought me to this place–
    I accept nothing. I return everything back to Him through the Blessed Virgin Mary. For I know, I am useless on my own. I have attested to this on too many occasions. I am not worthy of taking anything on my own. I seek the direct intercession of Our Blessed Mother to perfect my intentions, to refine my prayers, to mold my heart, to be the keeper of the grace that He wills for me.

    I fail daily to answer His call when I do not remain in constant union with Him, through prayer. I try not to wait for the next day to make amends, instead, I attempt to recommit at the immediate moment that I acknowledge my failing.

    A continual refusal of God’s call could not only place one’s soul in jeopardy, it could jeopardize the soul of one’s family, friends, associates, and all who he encounters. His call is not for us alone. It is for our family…the entire body of the Church.
    ——–
    Accept yourself as you are! Consent to your limitations. (p. 22)

    • Yes, our Blessed Mother will fill in for our weakness. I make my 10 year renewal of my Total Consecration tomorrow with my daughter who is making her 3rd year.

      • That’s great, Jenny! We are offering that at my parish this Lent…I hope I’m not too late! I have read the book but never made the consecration.

  4. 1) Pride keeps me from responding to God’s calls because it says “I will not serve”. Not your will, Lord, my will! Selfishness….it is my worst enemy and the one I have to deal with all the time. I think the author counters this with the relationship aspect of God’s calls. God’s calls are trinitarian. Firstly in the events, then in His Word (which we should be so familiar with that we live and breathe it) and then followed by the inspirations. (p. 10)

    2) An attitude of openness to God and his call “today” this moment – is the attitude I want to foster and live. There really is nothing except for ‘today’. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is not here; therefore, in all reality there is only today or even more so there is only ‘now’ -the present moment. This ‘now’ is what I am called to live.

    3) Life is a gift even with the trials and sufferings, if I let it “be” a gift.

    4) I think the author means we are not truly living if we go about compartmentalizing different aspects of our lives. It is like being a Catholic on Sunday, going to Mass, and the rest of the week living like being Catholic has no bearing on anything else you do.

    5) It was for me a total grace to accept the trail given to me and my family a year and a half ago when my 18 year old daughter died suddenly in a single vehicle accident. Of course, there was, and is, the sorrow and confusion, etc. that came with that, but because I was able to accept this as part of God’s plan, I was also able to see the gifts that came from it. So many people reached out to us, came to our aide and supported us. I couldn’t even begin to list all the beautiful blessings. (sigh) I also think that if I hadn’t this attitude I would have lost all hope and with that my faith and would not be joining in with all of you ladies, nor would I still be attending Mass. Honestly.

    • Rebecca, I love how you point out the relationship aspects of each call from God.

      • I truly think each call is about a relationship. They often involve others; for example, a child wanting a drink, me doing something else at the moment and the inspiration to respond (or not! – free will!).

    • thank you for sharing your trial. you are a beautiful witness of faith and surrender.

      Pax Christi, lena

    • I am so sorry Rebecca for your loss. My son was 19 when he was involved in an tragic accident as a passenger. He is alive but someone died in that accident and it was so devastating…he effects of which I still see in him even today. Thank you for sharing and know you are in my prayers in a special way.

      • Thank you Theresa and Lena! We never know what God will send our way. For some reason He thinks I am stronger than I really am.

    • Great points, Rebecca! Definitely agree on being familiar with His word: I love the lectio suggestions at the end of this book, just for that purpose. I’m so bad at lectio, I hope this will help!
      And I LOVe your picture. So pretty!

  5. 1. How does pride keep us from responding to God’s smaller, everyday calls?

    Pride says that we ought to be doing great things, that the little things do not matter. The problem with this is that it prevents the little things that must be done from getting done and by so doing the big things become impossible. Pride also prevents us from hearing God’s call by keeping us so focused on ourselves and our subjective reality that we miss the quiet calls that would give us real richness in our lives.

    Sometimes it is not pride but fear that prevents us from responding to the little calls. Fear of being less than perfect can freeze us into inaction. Fear that since we cannot manage a task perfectly perhaps we should wait and do the job when we have more time or the right tools or some other things you might name.

    Sometimes it is the fear that what we had planned is about to be derailed; fear that we have no control over what is happening to us hurts our pride and can lead to rejection of the “too hard” call of God.

    2. St Therese…”Nothing except for today” Do my actions, does my attitude, show that I believe my humble life to be a call from God? As much a call as when He called Abraham to lead the Israelites or Mary to be the Mother of God?

    Not always. Sometimes I really hate doing the little stuff. There is so much of it, and it isn’t very much fun, and it never stays done– like the glass that is placed in the sink within minutes of my thinking I have every single dish done! I don’t find the little stuff particularly mentally stimulating. How stimulating can cleaning a toilet BE? Or cleaning a mirror the next kid to brush his teeth will flick tooth paste over AGAIN?

    It is a vocation though to be that woman who is the executive in charge of a home. It is essential that the little stuff become habitual and get done. Embracing that fact is an exercise in humility and a maturing event!
    This call is so much a part of my vocation and I try to respond to it like Abraham or Mary– but I am quite a long ay from being so willing and obedient. My response is more like the son who, when asked to go work in the fields, responded, “NO!” but later went and obeyed. I do it, but the cheerfulness I would like to have in the doing is still only occasionally present.

    3. “Even with its trials and sufferings, life is still a gift.”

    Absolutely. How can one ever hope to attain heaven if one never has a life? Our culture has very much lost connection with this truth. We avoid having children, dislike their presence, get upset at the sight of a breast-feeding mother, shunt them off to daycare and schools, and talk as if they were a burden instead of a gift.

    4. What does the author mean…”Life is beautiful and full of meaning in its absurdity if you know how to take it as a whole.”

    Why is dark humor funny? Why do we enjoy the comedy of clowns who fumble and bumble and fall but keep on getting up? I think it is because what makes these things funny is how true they are to our actual experiences of life. We all make plans and then life takes unexpected turns and everything is different. There is a certain humor in it.

    I raised my two older children and put off career and graduate school to better meet their needs. Once they were into high school, I returned to graduate school in order to finish a MA and begin a career once the kids were out of the house. Then, I met my husband and we have children together and my vocation as wife and mother takes the front seat once more. I find absurdity in the whole sequence of events.

    5. Do I accept the grace present in the trials, the mundane calls, the absurdity of life? Or do I reject these calls? Could a continual refusal of these calls from God place my soul in jeopardy?

    My responses vary greatly. I have sometimes cheerfully accepted trials and at other times I rail in frustration against them. Sometimes it even depends on my hormones which way I respond!

    I think that rejection of the call of God represented by mundane events will cost us a lot of the inner freedom and joy that is possible in life when we accept the call of God. Will failure to appreciate the value of suffering and mundane calls place our souls in jeopardy? Perhaps it will threaten our souls because sin is always a falling away from God. Certainly if we willfully, pridefully and rebelliously reject God’s call because we don’t like it there will be a great deal of threat to our souls.

    • I agree that fear can cause us to ignore God’s call.

      I had forgotten about the story in the Bible of the son who said no, but then went out to work, great point!

      I think that rejection of the call of God represented by mundane events will cost us a lot of the inner freedom and joy that is possible in life when we accept the call of God.
      So true!

    • “Pride says that we ought to be doing great things, that the little things do not matter. The problem with this is that it prevents the little things that must be done from getting done and by so doing the big things become impossible.”

      so true. i tend to fall to an “all or nothing” attitude. if it can be done to perfection than why do it? it’s a nasty cycle that is rooted in pride.
      Deliver me, Jesus!

    • So right about fear, Ann. It can be hard to say “yes”…but we can grab onto Him and not let go!

  6. These two chapters were just full of great thoughts and thought-provoking quotes!

    Pride sometimes keeps me from responding to God’s everyday calls because sometimes I lack the trust that God has given me to respond to these calls. Sometimes I forget that God has given me the energy to respond to every call big and small during my day, and I find myself relying on my own resources, my own strength, and my own patience.
    This ties into St. Therese’s words of “Nothing except for today.” It is so easy to slip into the panic of constant worries about tomorrow. Will everything work out as planned tomorrow? Is it going to go smoothly? What if the baby wakes up sick? What if I don’t get that important phone call? etc. We just need to keep answering God with our “yes” ONE CALL AT A TIME. No worries about God’s next call. I just have to focus on the one call at that moment.
    Jenny – loved your insight that each call from God is as important as the call he gave to Abraham or Mary. Even if its the call to change another dirty diaper :)

    ”Life is beautiful and full of meaning in its absurdity if you know how to take it as a whole.” I think here the author means that when we see each call as a call to life, we are living our life in a “whole”, in a complete way as we respond to these calls. And it becomes absurd since even responding to the hard and difficult calls, in which our “yes” is wrung out of us, makes our life complete..that it is not only the happy and good calls that give us the feelings of peace and happiness in our lives.
    Love this book too!

  7. I know for me one of the ways pride can sneak into my everyday life is the thought of “How could they…or Don’t they know that…or I can’t believe…” Like someone mentioned in our introduction discussion, sometimes we work really hard to get the things done that need to be done so we can have some time for ourselves, only to have it interrupted! I am definately not in the mood to respond to that call at that moment, I just sat down, or I just opened a book or I just logged on the computer.

    I really never considered my grumbling as an outright rejection of God’s call, it was just grumbling or complaining, so that was eye opening for me. The thought of jeopordizing my soul a little piece at a time was also an eye opener for me. And when God whispered a comparison of these calls to me like those calls to Abraham or Mary…wow! I always hoped I would answer the “BIG” calls with a willing and joyful spirit, but if I can’t answer the little calls that way, who knows?

    • pride is a nasty lil bugger. PRIDE – Proud-Ridiculous-Inherited-Diviance-of the Evil one

      i fall to pride in many ways. in fact, pride would lead me to deny all the walls in which a fall. :)

      ——-
      “The thought of jeopordizing my soul a little piece at a time was also an eye opener for me.”

      i know what you mean. i must be reminded constantly that jeopardizing my soul does not usually happen in one lone grave sin. instead, it usually occurs in a slow chipping away process.

      the idea that the small trials are practice for the “big” test, is lacking. the small trials may be the last test we have. i desire so desperately to ace the test but i know he only wants me to show up and do the best i can.

  8. 1} Pride can keep us from responding to God’s calls since we then rely on ourselves…self-sufficient…for our own happiness. We no longer depend on the Father. We are no longer submissive or humble. We doubt and fear to answer the calls from God…we fear that *our* ideal of happiness will not be fulfilled.

    2}In regards to my attitude…in all honesty…no, they do not reflect that my life is a call from God. I have been grumbling and complaining much of late. These calls I try to answer from God *appear* anything BUT what would bring my idea of happiness. This is a struggle for me and depression does not help the situation or the perception of these callings…for it’s so easy to see the negative…at least for me. This attitude is something I pray about everyday and ask God for the grace and healing needed to find *joy* in everything he allows in my life.

    3}”Life is beautiful and full of meaning in its absurdity if you know how to take it as a whole.” ~ It is only by accepting EVERYTHING from God’s hands…not picking and choosing the *good* calls…that our life will find its meaning. Even out of sorrow and chaos, God will bring a greater good for our life. It is only then that we truly live and our life has meaning. In its absurdity, we are made *whole*…our soul is made *whole*.

    4}Well, I referred to this in number 2 that I do not always accept the grace that is present to me. But by accepting every call, even the most insignificant or small, “brings an increase of life and strength and encouragement.” Sin is somehow refusal to answer these calls and that does put our soul in jeopardy. “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.” {Luke 16:10}

    These were wonderful chapters! I started a post just on the many wonderful quotes in this book that I look forward to sharing.

    • “This is a struggle for me and depression does not help the situation or the perception of these callings…for it’s so easy to see the negative…at least for me.”

      my temperament is similar, i naturally see the negative. I rely on His grace to keep me focused on Him. i also deal with health issues. i pray to fully embrace both my temperament and my aliments — ALL FOR JESUS THROUGH MARY!

      i will keep you in my prayers.

      (i’m going to check your post on quotes from the book.)

      • lena~you are very sweet ; ) You blog is filled with joy! Thank you for sharing. I hopefully will post that on here since my blog will be quiet, especially for Lent.

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