Tuesday, March 10, 2009


So many terrible things happen every day that we start wondering whether the few things we do ourselves make any sense. When people are starving only a few thousand miles away, when wars are raging close to our borders, when countless people in our own cities have no homes to live in, our own activities look futile. Such considerations, however, can paralyse us and depress us.

Here the word call becomes important. We are not called to save the world, solve all problems, and help all people. But we each have our own unique call, in our families, in our work, in our world. We have to keep asking God to help us see clearly what our call is and to give us the strength to live out that call with trust. Then we will discover that our faithfulness to a small task is the most healing response to the illnesses of our time.

Henri Nouwen, from Bread for the Journey

It think this is a better way than I could have found myself to explain what I mean about my call to prayer, especially as it relates to the suffering we've discussed in the last few posts. As the Principles of the Third Order (TSSF) states (13):

We as Tertiaries desire to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, whom we serve in the three ways of Prayer, Study, and Work. In the life of the Order as a whole, these three ways must each find full and balanced expression, but it is not to be expected that all members devote themselves equally to each of them. Each individual's service varies according to their abilities and circumstances, yet as individual members our Personal Rule of Life must include each of the three ways.

I don't think these priorities are set for life, like the colour of our eyes. I know very well that nowadays God's main call on my life is to prayer, then to study, and last to work, in the form of Parish work. It has not always been so. When I was farming, my call to prayer was still very strong, perhaps the strongest call, helped as it was by the long solitary hours involved in herdsmanship; but study came a long way down the list. I hadn't time for study, beyond reading my Bible and some easy notes; and if I had had time, I'd simply have fallen asleep! Yet dairy farming is a vocation, if ever there was one, as exacting in its way as medicine or teaching.


  1. Oh, I needed to read these words today, Mike. Been tossed about a bit lately. Began with reading the prophetic utterances of David Wilkerson (who, although he is way different on the political and theological scale than I, I do believe that he speaks from God - or at least he did when I was intent on reading prophecy. I'm not intersted much at all these days, but I would give him a second glance if I had to choose. Anyway, yesterday I came across a prophecy he has given about some coming burnings and lootings of cities worldwide etc etc etc. It impacted me, I have to say. I don't want to dismiss anyone, even if I don't particularly agree with the way their worldview works, but I must still have some latent fundygelical leanings buried under my hip emergent heart because I feel like I have been weighing it to try to see what God is saying to me about it.

    So I've had that. Then today, thrown on top, I have been thinking about Monsanto and their evil practices, and about places like Darfur. And feeling overwhelmed. And then got bible slapped by someone online. The end result of today was a torrent of tears cried earlier.

    I am beginning to see a pattern here with me. The pattern is changing, and it's not taking me as long to realise again how I can only do what I am being asked to do, whatever that is (prayer is a big thing for me, too).

    Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you for being one of the blogs who I consistently read who God speaks through in this way. Those words of Nouwen (again) just honeyed themselves into my heart.

  2. I needed to read these words today, too.

    Thank you.

  3. I love what you say here and am moved by your words about being a dairy farmer being a vocation - how beautiful is that.

    Oh Mike, always so much wisdom to be found here. Thank you. Thank God!