By Jourdan Reynoolds
If you know anything about St. Teresa of Kolkata, you have probably heard about her “call within in call,” as she left her life as a teacher and founded the Missionaries of Charity to serve the poorest of the poor in India. I’ve always been fascinated with this experience of hers but for the longest time I couldn’t fully understand it until this year.
One of the hardest parts of my vocational discernment was being content with just one vocation. I was torn between choosing a life committed to my spouse and children (married life) and that of a life committed to a community of persons (priesthood). I wanted to have both.
Like St. Teresa or Father Damien of Molokai, I too wanted to bring healing to others, to advocate on their behalf and give them a voice in society. At my current job in crime victim services, I am doing just that. My work assists victims of crime who need help following a homicide, a domestic violence situation or a sexual assault or abuse. This is a select group of individuals who are sometimes forgotten or unseen by society. In my position, I acknowledge them, listen to them and empower them, much like St. Teresa and Father Damien did for their communities.
A career such as this one is taxing and some days I come home mentally and physically exhausted. However, I try to remember to ask God for assistance each day, especially during the most emotionally draining days. I have a family at home who needs my assistance too. This little community of mine needs my attention and dedication.
Raising a family is challenging, as well. It involves your time, talents and full self to properly function. Ever since reading St. John Paul II’s encyclical, Familiaris Consortio, which speaks about the family in the modern world, I have wanted to accept God’s call to be a husband and father. Like the late pope, I believe the way to heal society is through the family. I have accepted that my part in doing this is what I am practicing right now, which is being a husband to my wife and a father to my kids.
On a daily basis, I give of myself to my community at work and then come home and do so again for my family. It is the hardest two jobs I have ever had but I would never let go of either one of them. It is through the struggles that I have found the greatest joys of this life. My relationship and reliance on God have never been stronger. I can’t imagine committing myself to this extent without God’s grace. I love my life and I thank God for the pathway on which he is leading me.
(Jourdan Reynolds is a member of St. Mary Parish in Grinnell.)