Hearts Desire Feature

Since the beginning of humankind, people have asked, why am I here? Where am I going? And how am I called to live my life? What is God calling me to do? In more recent times these enduring questions have been rearticulated around issues of meaning, purpose, human flourishing, and the search to know God’s will. Although the culture holds out images of success, fulfillment, and happiness, the quest to discover our heart’s desire and make a lasting impact on the world is often elusive. Not infrequently we can make professional, material and financial progress, but at the same time regress in spiritual, ethical and human development. How can we tap into the deeper rivers and sometimes muddy waters within us and wade into the current that leads us to find our most authentic selves and discover the flow of our life’s calling?

This course is about the inner and outer development that leads into these waters. It will involve both personal reflection and communal connection. When we experience a deep connection to our work and a consistent flow between our life’s energies and our daily tasks, we are the most alive, at peace, and whole. “The place God calls you,” Frederick Buechner once wrote, “is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”1 But how do we discover our own unique gifts and respond to the hungers of our world? What decisions must we make, and what discernment must we undertake, to find our way? How do we encounter the path that will lead us to integrate both our heart’s desire and our desire for social change? This course is designed to help you with these questions.

Drawing on Theology, Spirituality, Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, and Design Thinking, we will explore how others have asked these questions before us and how we can explore these questions today. We will use readings, lectures, class discussions, films, learning exercises, papers, and guest speakers to help you discover your talents, values, and vocation, and dream about how you can make a difference in the world.

Although we will look to others for insight, the primary text of this course is your own life, and you will be expected to thoroughly and regularly examine who you are, what you believe, and what you feel called to live out as a human being. In addition to human experience and the expertise of the social sciences, we will look to the wisdom of the great religious traditions to aid you in the process of self-discovery. Our goal is not just to give you more information but to assist you in the process of formation that is directed towards personal and social transformation. As you work at integrating the heart, the mind, the will, and the spirit, we wish to foster a vision of justice, which—from a theological point of view— is about seeking right relationship with God, others, ourselves, and the world around us.

[1] Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking: A Seeker’s ABC (San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1993), 119.


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  • Prospective students: if you are interested in taking the course, please contact Fr. Kevin Sandberg.
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