Book connects higher education, service

When students arrive at college as eager young freshmen, they are embarking on more than four years of higher education. It’s also the time when they will lay the foundation for what they will do with the rest of their lives. Given that they are naturally asking questions about their calling in life, it’s important for college leaders to think proactively about vocations – looking at the idea of a calling as a means of transformation.

That’s the premise of a new book edited by Dr. Michael R. Miller, an assistant professor of philosophy at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg. Published by Baylor University Press, “Doing More with Life: Connecting Christian Higher Education to a Call to Service” features a collection of essays centered on the theme of vocation and how educators can encourage discernment.

While vocations are often thought of as a calling to a specific career path or a religious life, “Doing More with Life” examines the ways God has a call for all people of all states in life.

The idea for the book came out of discussions on vocations at Mount St. Mary’s over the last several years through the annual “Callings” program which is supported with a $2 million grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc.
“I think young people are very open to the notion of vocations,” said Dr. Miller, a parishioner of St. Anthony Shrine in Emmitsburg. “They recognize they’ve been given gifts and many kinds of talents and they want to use them well.”

Students are very interested in service to others, Dr. Miller said, which can help sharpen the sense of one’s own calling.

“The students have helped me understand that God calls us not for himself, but to make us more complete and whole and perfect,” he said.

In his book, Dr. Miller said to be called by God “is a divine invitation to respond to the grace present in one’s life.”
“In answering that call, every aspect of our life, including the most ordinary and the extraordinary, is transformed,” he said. “The end result is that we are no longer simply interested in our own good, but are newly dedicated to the wellbeing of others.”

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Catholic Review

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.