Who Inspires You? Whom Will You Inspire?

Posted: 9/8/2012

Pat McEntee, Glenmary's associate vocation directorBy Pat McEntee,
Associate Vocation Director

The world recently finished watching many awe-inspiring performances at this year's Olympics: Michael Phelps won more medals than any other Olympian in history, Usain Bolt defended his title of "World's Fastest Human," the U.S. gymnastics team struck gold, and more. Athletes have always inspired us because they are able accomplish physical feats that we could never dream of doing ourselves.

In life, there are many opportunities for each of us to be inspired and to be inspiring. If you grew up in a Catholic family, your parents might have talked to you about one or more priests, religious brothers or sisters as people who inspired them. In earlier generations, Catholic schools were staffed largely by vowed religious because they were so plentiful.

Now, most Catholic schools are staffed almost exclusively by laypeople. Although these educators are highly qualified, young persons still have far fewer opportunities to be inspired by vowed religious. There just aren't as many around as in days gone by. This isn't to say that laypersons can't inspire individuals to pursue religious vocations. However, it is different when you have the chance to see vowed religious in action day in and day out.

When I try to think of what inspires me about a person, it is tough to pinpoint. It isn't one conversation or teaching that comes to mind, but rather the way that person lives his or her life. I truly believe that it is not the individual that inspires, but rather the joy brought by the Holy Spirit that radiates through the person.

More priests, brothers and sisters are needed virtually everywhere in the world so that more people can be inspired by their Christ-like examples.

I watched the movie Bruce Almighty the other night. One of the lines that struck me was when God (played by Morgan Freeman) tells Bruce (played by Jim Carrey) that he has a divine spark. All of us have divine sparks to share. When we do share them, inspiration flows. In turn, others are moved to discover and exercise their own divine sparks.

In the coming month, take some time to be inspired and be inspiring. Consider the best way for God to shine through you. Perhaps it's as a member of the Glenmary Home Missioners.