Finding God’s Calling All around Us
Kathleen A. Cahalan
The Stories We Live explores vocation through eight prepositions—by, to, as, from, for, through, in, and within—that connect who we are with what we do. Beyond traditional understandings of vocation as a static noun, something we receive once in our life, the prepositions of calling open up callings as multiple, dynamic, and changing over time. Vocation entails being called by God, to follow, as I am, from loss, for service, in suffering, through others, and within God.
A vital sense of vocation is crucial for the Christian life today. Vocation is first of all a communal reality, a calling we hear as a community, in and for community. Callings are also deeply personal, connecting our live circumstances and contexts within the wider view of God’s purposes for the world. Vocation grounds identity and meaning in service for the common good, as illustrated in the stories of everyday Christians who experience multiple callings to work, relationships, and community. Through Biblical reflections, contemporary theological ideas, and real-life portraits, including an online video series, The Stories We Live helps readers see that in telling stories about our lives, we awaken to a God who is calling us in many ways.
The language of calling is everywhere in popular culture, appearing in book titles focusing on purpose, meaning, and identity. But the features of Christian calling are often missing in these portraits. The Stories We Live demonstrates that the purpose and meaning of the Christian life can be rejuvenated through new language and practices of vocation.
Kathleen A. Cahalan, Ph.D., is Professor of Theology at Saint John’s University School of Theology and Seminary and director of the Collegeville Institute Seminars. She is the author of several books, including Opening the Field of Practical Theology (Rowman and Littlefield), and Introducing the Practice of Ministry (Liturgical Press).