Congratulations! If you are reading this, you have made the life-changing decision to serve as a volunteer with one of CVN’s member programs. As Faith mentioned, you have joined a community of over 17,000 volunteers, united by your choice to serve. It’s true – conscious or not, you engaged in a discernment process to choose to embark on this journey. Now, the challenge and invitation is how you choose to live it out.
For many of us, the word “discernment” brings to mind huge life decisions and turning points that shape our path ahead. However, one of the most beautiful things I discovered as a volunteer is that discernment does not have to be all about the future; in fact, it beckons us to honor the present.
In the letter from the Staff found the beginning of the 2018 RESPONSE directory, we describe how the three steps of discernment identified by the Catholic Church – Recognizing, Interpreting, and Choosing – could guide the process of discerning a faith-based service program. Now that you have made that choice, these steps can also bring new meaning your service experience. This year, I hope that you may:
Recognize where you find joy and struggle – working for social justice at your service site, living alongside others in community, practicing simplicity, and exploring your spirituality.
Interpret how those joys and struggles may be inviting you to live, what they may be calling you to learn, and how they may be challenging you to grow.
Choose how you respond to those challenges and opportunities in real time, from one day to the next, growing more into the person God calls you to be each step of the way.
Yes, you chose service this year. But it’s also important to remember that you have been chosen. This newsletter’s title, “First Things First,” reminds us: let your immediate context – the people, places, and experiences of your service journey – inspire your reflection, illuminate your gifts, and lead to a fuller embodiment of your God-given vocation. Allow yourself to explore the potential and possibility of this unique space and time in your life. With an open, honest heart, you may be surprised at what you find.
We appreciate the courage you bring to this adventure and we want you to know that you are not alone – we will be discerning how to provide you and your community with resources to embrace this space together. We think it’s a pretty great space to be.
Yours in faith, service, and discernment,
CVN Program Manager – From Service to Sisterhood
Former Good Shepherd Volunteer and Former Lasallian Volunteer