It sounds a bit trite to say, but life takes us down many different paths. A new one is opening before me as I write.
Over the past nine months, I have been praying, discussing, consulting, interviewing and discerning a change of ministry. On April 28, the official letter of appointment arrived. I am to serve our parish community as its new spiritual and pastoral leader!
This is a huge step on one hand, and a very natural movement on the other.
The change is something that will impact my husband and family as well as our faith community. In the Catholic Church, not too many lay ministers, much less the female variety, hold this position. We are a clerical and hierarchical organization, after all. So far, the community and family have only expressed joy and confidence in this appointment. What a grace!
We all hold various images of God, the Divine, the “something more”. The understanding of Jesus as shepherd has always held a special place in my life. I don’t hang on to a child’s viewpoint here. A shepherd’s life is grimy and rough. Sheep wander and get lost, caught in weeds and brambles. Wolves and other beasts are always after the entire group.
My own call has often found me in the sheep pen, or in the brambles. I need the shepherd. A lot.
And now, I am tasked with leading, guiding, offering hope, problem solving, and listening. Mainly listening. That, and praying.
Fortunately, I am blessed to be a part of a fabulous community that works together, prays as one, and takes the work of discipleship to heart. My role is simply to shepherd the good that is already taking place. Together, we will push the boundaries of the sheep pen, discover and celebrate the presence of Christ, and take that Good News into our daily living.
I think I like that path…