Inviting and Empowering Others to Use their Gifts
Who might you invite to consider a call to religious life? One quality we might look for is the ability to exercise leadership which invites and empowers others to use their gifts.
This quality indicates that one is not wrapped up in oneself, but is able to be attentive to others and to recognize their gifts as well as ways these might be called forth. It means realizing that every person has gifts to be shared.
As Jesus called his disciples this was a quality that appeared to be important to him. There was a great amount of diversity among his followers, but he touched individuals in a way that invited them to develop and share the gifts they had.
Several years ago, Sarah visited a woman who seldom joined others for experiences of any type. She simply stayed home, seemingly preferring to exist by herself. She seldom showed signs of experiencing happiness. After several visits she was invited to help organize some recreational experiences for people at a nearby senior center and she decided to give it a try. Her experience was a positive one, for the attentive Sarah had noticed her gifts and her needs and kept them in mind. It wasn’t long before the woman began to change. No longer content to have an isolated existence, she began to reach out to the people at the center and to enjoy being with them.
This quality of leadership is often found in people who are quiet and non-threatening, as well as in others who are extroverts. It challenges one to call forth the best in others, rather than seeking to be Number One. It means emphasizing, “We,” rather than “Me,” and being comfortable with one’s own gifts and limitations as well as the gifts and limitations of others.
We might look for women with the ability to invite and empower others to share their gifts as we encourage people to think about religious life.