Editor’s Note: Missioner Amanda Ceraldi reflects on the journey that led her to Guatemala and how she knew she had a calling to overseas mission.
If you ask my mom, she would say she knew I would go on mission when I was in the 9th grade and just 14 years old. If you ask the former Dean of Theology at The Catholic University of America, she might say that she knew this after my internship with the United States Catholic Mission Association.
If you were to ask one of my college campus ministers, they might say it was when, as a freshman, I picked up my first Response booklet from Catholic Volunteer Network, so I could see what the different opportunities for mission were.
I’m not exactly sure if any of their answers would be right, mostly because I’m not even sure when I knew I would go on mission. There were obvious moments when I felt called, like after my first international mission experience in Jamaica, or during one of my theology courses, or while visiting the long-term service fair that CUA hosted every fall.
But honestly, I’m not sure when I knew because I have a hard time differentiating between life before mission and life on mission.
I don’t mean this in that my life is the same or that I haven’t changed or grown on mission. I have changed more than I could have ever imagined. I am not the same person I was prior to coming to Guatemala.
I have learned how to love in new ways, I have been challenged beyond what I thought I could handle, and I have developed a stronger relationship with God through my work with the children at Valley of the Angels.
What I mean when is that in knowing that I am fully living out my vocational call, the plan that God laid out for me, there is no before mission. My life and my vocation are mission.
So much has happened in the past two years since I answered my vocational call with FMS. Looking back, there have been a lot of different things that I have carried with me along the way and one of them is this prayer that one of my best friends sent me before I left for my discernment retreat with Franciscan Mission Service:
O God of beginnings, as your spirit moved over the face of the deep
on the first day of creation, move with me now, in my time of beginning,
when the air is rain-washed the bloom is on the bust, and the world seems
fresh and full of possibilities, and I feel ready and full. I tremble on the edge of a maybe, a first time,
a new thing, a tentative start, and the wonder of it lays its fingers on my lips.
In silence, Lord, I share now my eagerness and my uneasiness about this something different I would be or do:
and I listen for Your leading to help me separate the light from the darkness in the change I seek to shape and which is shaping me.
This was the prayer that I said before walking up the staircase at Casa San Salvador prior to my discernment retreat, it was the prayer that I said before leaving for formation with FMS, and it was the prayer that I said before boarding my plane to Guatemala. So, naturally it was the prayer I turned to in my discernment to renew my contract with FMS.
My discernment to renew may not be a first thing, a new thing, or a tentative start, but in listening to where God is leading me and calling me, I know, just like my mom knew, that I am meant to be on mission.
I am meant to be in Guatemala. I am meant to be at Valley of the Angels. It is with great joy, that I announce my decision to renew for a third year with FMS. To continue this vocational call that started, On the Edge of a Maybe.
Reflection Questions: Are you on the edge of a maybe? Have you placed God at the center of your discernment?