By Molly Sichterman
“It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another.” John 15: 16-17
I believe God puts people and situations in our lives for a purpose and when a friend mentioned I should consider “Called and Gifted” as the next stepping stone, I listened.
Another friend recommended me for the class and I received a call a couple weeks later from the facilitator of the group starting at Prince of Peace Parish in Clinton. Through the 10-week journey I had to learn to “feel” and not think about things so much. It was an amazing and humbling experience to realize the way God works by the Holy Spirit in us and how this process is all on “God’s time.”
There are many things we want to know but surely are not ready for. Things were revealed as I prayed, listened in class, received affirmation from others in and outside the class and stepped out with courage to “test my charism” (gift of the Holy Spirit). I had decided with guidance from our spiritual leader to discern the charism or gift of “intercessory prayer.” Now I feel confident about sharing my faith with others, even strangers.
Due to the class I am able to see myself in much fuller light, the way Jesus sees me. I feel I have a long way to go to understand other gifts I may have and also to learn to pray and know where I am being led. I do know without a doubt that I am continually being called to serve.
One of the most powerful affirmations I have received involved a lady who lost her faith in God for many years. Her husband was dying, she was ill and awaiting a biopsy of a lump in her breast. She asked me if she was being punished by God. I assured her that our God does not operate that way. I barely knew her, but that night I awoke at 2 a.m. with a prompting to pray for her “conversion.” A Scripture reading came to mind. I read it the next day and felt a strong sense and prompting to share it with her even though I was also very nervous about what she would think.
She did in fact sit quietly and seemed to be taking this in; I explained my experience and that I felt God wanted her to hear this Scripture. She asked what time I had awakened and after I answered her, she responded: “I awoke at that same time and was not able to get my breath, but all at once felt a peace come over me.”
That was all I needed to hear. I know what I stepped into was God at work. I prayed with her a few weeks later, after she received a diagnosis of breast cancer. Ten days later she had a mastectomy and called me, elated, stating “I know without a doubt the prayers were answered as I don’t need any chemo or radiation.” We praised God together and she said, “I know you were a channel through which God touched me.” And now my daily prayer is “Lord, may you use me to do your good work, Amen.”
(Molly Sichterman is a member of Prince of Peace Parish in Clinton. She participated in a Called and Gifted class from February to April 2014.)
(For information about beginning a Called and Gifted program in your parish, please contact Nikki Gartner at jngartner@ aol.com or call (563) 370-3360.)