In the service of others
By Paulina Gallego
For many years I had this idea that having a vocation was linked with being a priest or sister and choosing a religious life. Only recently have I discovered that a vocation is meant for everyone and we are all called to put our gifts and talents to the service of others. I believe that these gifts are always connected to the teachings of Jesus—to do good wherever we are, to be kind and generous, to share each other’s pain and suffering.
“When it comes to vocations, we are asked to make a journey of faith.”
It is hard to live one’s life without a goal, and for me that goal is to be happy, which means being healthy, having my basic needs met, being loved, and finding meaning in what I do. I began to ask God to help me discover what I could do with my life, what were my strengths, what was I really good at. God allowed these questions to percolate in order to take me deeper into discernment.
There are many things that make me happy, but the only time I could remember being truly joyful was when I was able to share my gifts and talents in helping others.After graduating from college, I felt a deep desire to serve those in need and to leave behind everything that was familiar to do so. I wanted to live my life in a way that would leave me exhausted at the end of the day because I was giving my all to others. It was then that I discovered that the desire of the heart is the longing of the soul because God makes us desire what God is calling us to be.
After graduating from college, I felt a deep desire to serve those in need and to leave behind everything that was familiar to do so. I wanted to live my life in a way that would leave me exhausted at the end of the day because I was giving my all to others. It was then that I discovered that the desire of the heart is the longing of the soul because God makes us desire what God is calling us to be.
In 2014, I joined the Scarboro Missions’ One-Year Mission Program and went to Guyana. I worked in the Missionaries of Charity daycare and came to know many stories of domestic violence, harassment, rape, and murder. Many times I felt overwhelmed, but for a few hours each day I had the privilege to be with these small children who oftentimes were the bystanders and victims in these stories. It was there that I found true joy in loving, caring, and providing a safe place for these little ones where their talents and abilities were recognized and nourished.
In my journey I have learned that our God-given talents will always exceed our expectations. When we discover what God is asking of us, we may experience fear—fear of the unknown, fear of our ability to meet unknown challenges. At the same time, our desire to serve will grow. It is during this time that we will take the leap of faith and say “Yes” to God’s call without absolute assurance that everything will be okay or that we will be able to do what is asked of us. But when it comes to vocations, we are asked to make a journey of faith, and when we give our desires to God, our joy will surpass all fear.
God is calling me, calling you, to be the best that we can be. This means being generous enough to share with the world, with those in need, with the marginalized. A vocation is when the grace of God guides us to do things we never thought possible for the service of others. Go on. Take the next step. Do not be afraid.∞
Paulina Gallego has now returned to life in Canada after serving in Guyana for a year with the One-Year Mission Program.