Joan Chittister on Passion and Purpose

Gerrie Govert's The Stone Cutter, Indiana

“What’s your passion? In the end, it is passion and purpose—passion and purpose—that are of the essence of a vocation, a call to do something that makes me a conscious co-creator of the world.

An old medieval story makes the point best. A traveler came across three stonecutters. “What are you doing?” the traveler asked the first man. “I am making a living,” the man said. “And what are you doing?” the traveler asked the second man. And that man answered, “I am practicing to become the best stonecutter in Europe.” Then the man asked the third laborer. And the third man answered, “I am building a cathedral.”

In my commitment to my vocation, whatever it may be—helping cripples to walk and people to die dignified deaths and children to learn and the world to grow seeds and nations to live in peace—I myself become a holy person, a mystic whose God is alive and present and waiting for us to do what must be done to make creation itself a holy place.

A call demands endurance and persistence, commitment and stability. To be a real call it must be something worth giving my time, my resources, myself to doing. It has nothing to do with success as measured in the number of people served or the numbers of units produced or the number of events attended. It has everything to do with trying. As the Sufi say, “If you are expecting to find an answer to your problem, you have simply not asked a big enough question.” It is out of awareness of our role on earth that we find our place on earth.”–Joan Chittister, OSB

From Following The Path by Joan Chittister

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