Joan Chittister: ‘A Call Is A Sacred Reason to be Alive’

Joan Chittister, OSB
Joan Chittister, OSB

“Life is pure flame,” Thomas Browne wrote, “and we live by an invisible sun within us.” It is this invisible sun, this light within, this call to something worthwhile in life that is meant to dispel life’s darkness. It gives us our reason to be. And it is this call to the fullness of ourselves that drives us on, that becomes our internal measure of worth and, in the end, it is, as well, the judge of our quality of happiness.

Life is not about having a job. Life is about responding to the great human call to make life more than a series of aimless occupations. A call is a sacred reason to be alive.

The spiritual value of discovering the star by which we are steering the entire rest of our lives shapes us both internally and publicly. It affects the way we feel about ourselves, it determines how we relate to others, it defines our place in the world, and it provides a sense of purpose to life. When those things are defined, the emptiness goes, the rootlessness goes, the capriciousness of life that eats away at the heart of us disappears. Days may be difficult after that, yes, but they at least have a sense of meaning. We are no longer simply spinning around in the space called our lives, fearful of the future, dissatisfied with the present. We are now going someplace for a reason larger than ourselves and feeling more humanly significant than simply self-important.–Joan Chittister, OSB

From Following the Path: the Search for a Life of Passion, Purpose, and Joy by Joan Chittister

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