“Rekindling your passion”

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- As people, we should be passionate about our vocation. Webster's Dictionary defines passion as, "A state of feeling or a conscious mental reaction (as anger or fear) subjectively experienced as strong feeling usually directed toward a specific object and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body."

I was recently blessed with the opportunity to go on a Temporary Duty assignment to Fort Jackson, S.C. for a Preaching and Homiletics course. I went prepared to be reminded of the many $5 words I learned in seminary: theology (study of religion), hermeneutics (the science of interpreting texts) and exegesis (interpretation of texts). Instead I was reminded of why I believe I was called to ministry in the first place: Passion.

My calling to ministry is distinctly grounded in two separate spheres: College campus ministry and local parish ministry. Both can be extremely fulfilling ministries to participate in but neither was able to truly allow me to serve the people I wanted to serve in the way I felt called. Campus ministry allowed me to work with young people taking the first formative steps in their own journeys, but limited my opportunities to preach, teach and share the sacraments. Parish ministry allowed me to fulfill those needs, but limited my chances for working with young adults.

What answered my cry? What ministry could help me realize my passion for both guiding a community and shaping young adults? I found my answer in the U.S. Air Force Chaplain Corps. In the Chaplain Corps I get to shepherd a great group of disciples on Sunday and on Monday walk through a squadron and help the best and brightest fulfill their dreams.

Sometimes we lose that feeling of passion that called us to where we are in the first place. Long hours, limited manning and austere locations can take their toll, and we forget what we loved about our vocation in the first place.

I was blessed that, during my course, Dr. Mike Milton reminded me that I need to respond to my calling from the passion that first brought me to it. This rekindling requires me to go back to what first drew me to my ministry: The people. I am blessed to serve the outstanding men and women who put on the uniform everyday and provide freedom and protection to countless people around the world. It is to them that I must refocus my gaze and remind me of the passion that burns in my heart.

Why did you join the Air Force? Was it for patriotism, a sense of something bigger than yourself, or simply to improve yourself? Whatever the reason, go back to that moment when you raised your right hand. Remember what was so important that you put your country before yourself. Reflect on that feeling and allow it to penetrate your soul again. Connection with this passion will recalibrate your life to your calling and vocation and will show through in all you do.