Lent with St Edith Stein Day 4: The Supernatural Vocation of Women

Lent with St Edith Stein Day 4: The Supernatural Vocation of Women

               The Religious vocation is the total surrender of the whole person and his or her entire life to the service of God.

St Edith Stein, The Ethos of Women’s Professions


               Vocations cover a wide range of possibilities, and it can be overwhelming to discern your calling. While only men serve as priests, everyone is called to some sort of vocation. That may take the form of teaching, propagation of the faith, works of mercy, intercessory prayer, offering up suffering, the list goes on. There is a ministry for each person which makes the best use of their individual talents. God has created each of us with intention, with purpose. No one is a “spare” person.

                Even from a young age, a woman longs to give herself completely, to belong to another. Young girls on the playground weave bracelets for their best friend. Teenage girls draw hearts around the initials of their boyfriend. Young women plan the perfect wedding to symbolize the complete union with their beloved. Mothers decorate colorful nurseries to welcome their babies into the world. In every stage of life, we can see women giving themselves wholly to another.

               Vocations are all about total surrender. It is a matter of giving oneself completely, without reserve to God.               When we give ourselves so completely to someone other than God, it can lead to abuse and misery because no one other than God can fulfill this desire. The childhood best friend, the high school boyfriend, the husband, the children: these relationships are all so important. These people are given to us by God for our mutual growth. But while relationships with others are crucial in our lives, they will never fulfill us the way that God will.

               St Edith wrote, “Only God can welcome a person’s total surrender in such a way that one does not lose one’s soul in the process but wins it. And only God can bestow Himself upon a person so that He fulfills this being completely and loses nothing of Himself in so doing. That is why total surrender, which is the principle of the religious life, is simultaneously the only adequate fulfillment of a woman’s yearning.”

               In Mary’s life, she took on many roles: daughter, mother, wife, apostle. We see her in each of these roles, taking on her duties quietly, trusting God, loving Jesus. The circumstances of her life changed, but her devotion never did. Everywhere she went, she found her vocation. We must be a handmaid of the Lord always, acting as His steward in all the stages and circumstances of our lives.



Question for further reflection:

  1. What type of ministry am I best suited for? (it doesn’t have to be something big)
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