“You have made us for yourself, O God, and our hearts are restless until at peace with you,” is the best known excerpt from St. Augustine’s Confessions. As a young man, he had pursued many pathways seeking to understand himself and his vocation. His discovery of the orientation of his heart was life changing for him.
Recently I have been a part of the process of interviewing candidates for the Women’s Leadership Initiative. You recall that we are looking “for a few good women” for this select educational opportunity. As I listened to the women describe how they came to apply to this program, a theme emerged. They described a certain restlessness of heart. Although they were in good jobs and settled family situations, they knew they were being prompted to a new horizon, which included graduate theological education.
One of the women is in a well-paying executive position that allows her to live comfortably and send her daughter to college. She remarked over and over that she would not think of changing her profession—except for this restlessness.
The Old Testament lesson for the Fifth Sunday After the Epiphany narrates the call of Isaiah. At a particularly vulnerable time in his life, he describes his encounter with the Holy One of Israel:
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I; send me!” (Isaiah 6:8)
King Uzziah had died, and a tremor ran through Judah as Assyrian domination threatened. No wonder Isaiah feels vulnerable. Unexpectedly, he experiences a theophany in the temple at this critical time, and his prophetic vocation is clarified. His heart is laid bare by his encounter with God, and purified, he responds with forthright commitment. Although the mission summoning him is arduous, he is willing to become God’s speaker to an unholy people. It is his life’s work.
What makes your heart restless? Is it a longing to understand what you were put on this planet to do? Is it a sense of being summoned to a life of greater meaning and service? Our school has one purpose: to empower persons to lead their best lives. We believe God intends for your heart to sing.
Flourishing human lives are grounded in spiritual understanding, a moral vision, and deep awareness of one’s unique identity. Self-understanding is critical to personal and vocational generativity, and Central is committed to helping each learner discover his or her ultimate purpose. We believe this discovery will make your own heart rise up, and you will find the best pathway to help transform our world. We will be delighted to be your companions on this journey.
Molly T. Marshall
Central prepares creative leaders for diverse ministry contexts.