"My life is a listening. His is a speaking. My salvation is to hear and respond," Thomas Merton has written. In this lyrical and pensive book, Robert Benson, one of our Living Spiritual Teachers and author of 12 works about the discovery of the sacred in everyday life, examines calling, vocation, and finding purpose and meaning in life.
"There is within each of us an echo of the Voice of the One Who whispered us into being. We must listen for that echo and to that echo; we must listen fiercely and faithfully and fearlessly. Within the echo of the Voice that spoke us into being is the sound of our own true voice."
Benson shares vignettes of his own calling to be a Christian writer as he reminisces about his enchantment as a boy with paper and ink; his work as an ad man and his last job at a publishing company; his experience of "unpacking my otherness" at the Academy for Spiritual Formation; his being born again and again and again; and his admiration for his father who taught him the three things a writer has to master.
Benson talks about the scriptural view of Dabhar, which means that God spoke creation into being. God spoke the incarnate word in Jesus and God is still speaking the word through us. The author revels in his calling as a writer, teacher, and retreat leader. But he is also alert to the possibility that callings can change: "They can shift and grow, expand and contract, mirroring and responding to the choices we make as we seek to live out the details of the echo within that we can hear." We are lucky to have Benson around to teach us so much about the different ingredients of spiritual formation.