Thursday, December 22, 2016
A Vocation of Change
Our Spanish relatives, seeped in Old World Catholicism, are a fount of wise sayings like the following: "God doesn't call us to a vocation of sameness. He calls us to a vocation of change." In other words, God doesn't make his will known in a set of simple instructions and then vanish off the scene. God accompanies us, inviting us to constant conversation and relationship.
"Look at the chosen people of Israel in the Old Testament," our Spanish cousin explained. "God called them from place to place." And indeed, the Old Testament tells a tale of a people on the move. The Book of Exodus describes generations of enslavement in Egypt, and 40 years of wandering in the desert, before reaching the promised land. Hundreds of years later, during the Babylonian Exile, the Jewish people were forced out of Judah and into Babylonia for practically 50 years before being able to return home.
Our cousin saw parallels between the history of God's chosen people and her own life. Like Leonie, St. Therese of Lisieux's sister, she was attracted to more than one religious order but had yet to find her place. She recognized God's will in the interior urge to keep searching and the courage to embrace change.
At this time in my life, I too can hear God calling me to change. This past year has brought both exhilarating highs and devastating lows. In April, Ave Maria Press published The Four Keys to Everlasting Love, which my husband and I wrote together. Then in August, the same publisher released The Catholic Mom's Prayer Companion, featuring daily devotional essays by me and many other writers. Along with a dizzying round of radio and in-person promotional appearances, the year also brought unwelcome reminders that my husband's health is not all it could be.
And so, this past year has shown me that God isn't finished with me yet. What he wants from me is more. To make room for more, I have to pare down and trim away. What this means, for the time being, is the end of this blog. I've enjoyed the journey and hope you have, too.
This blog started on a wing and a prayer in December 2011. I soon joined the teams of excellent bloggers at CatholicMom.com and CatholicLane.com. With the help of veteran news editor John Burger, who supervised me at the National Catholic Register way back when, I got tagged to report on events with Cardinal Dolan at the famous Waldorf Astoria Hotel and on Pope Francis' 2015 visit to both New York City and Philadelphia for online news outlet Aleteia.org.
I owe thanks to many people who assisted me along the way. Lisa Mladinich of AmazingCatechists.com introduced me to the editor of the Catholic Match blog and Catholic Digest magazine, both of which ran my articles. Rick Hinshaw, former editor-in-chief of The Long Island Catholic Magazine, recommended my husband and me as marriage advice columnists for the FAITH Magazine consortium. Mary Kaufmann produced my first webinar for Word of the Vine/Incarnate Institute. Acquisitions editor Lil Copan went prospecting on LinkedIn and asked me to submit my book proposal to Ave Maria Press. Heidi Hess Saxton ushered us through the harrowing days of writing and rewriting the book manuscript, perfecting it for publication. Editor Joan McKamey also sought me out via LinkedIn, resulting in two contracts to write entire issues of Catholic Update. Last but not least, Pam Swartzberg, Chair of the Women's Commission of the Archdiocese of Newark, deserves thanks for introducing us to Jill Cherrey, coordinator of the Archdiocesan God's Plan for a Joy-Filled Marriage program, where we regularly speak.
There are scads of others, too numerous to mention, who helped with the success of this blog. I have thanked you elsewhere over the years, and if I don't thank you here, please know that your name is still in my heart!
I will still be available for paid writing and speaking assignments. Please reach out to me by email at santoskaree at gmail dot com.