When I sat down to write this morning, I found that I had nothing to write that was worth writing. So, in an attempt at the virtue of patience, I waited until I attended Mass. My patience was rewarded as, during the Mass, I realized an interesting thing about today's liturgy. The concepts brought up in the readings today almost completely summarize the major topics I've presented here on vocations. I will not copy and paste the readings here, so if you have not heard them yet, this link will take you to them.
The first reading stressed two things: the call of God and personal holiness. Isaiah felt himself called to seek the face of God, but was overcome with humility when he realized his own sinfulness. This reading is a POWERFUL example of realizing one's own smallness, accepting one's vocation with humility, purifying one's own heart (or lips), and thus preparing through personal holiness to seek God and to give Him to others. It also very perfectly defines the nature of a vocation... a call from God, to serve Him and His people. It illustrates the proper response "I will go Lord." Thus, this reading is a practical outline for following one's vocation.
The second reading by St. Paul to the Corinthians was the next thing to strike me as extremely relevant. In this letter St. Paul reaffirms the teachings of the Gospel, particularly the risen Christ, and his belief in it. This tells to me two things. First, St. Paul is showing that he understands that he must first believe in truth before he can bear witness to the truth. This is an essential part of our vocations as Catholics and religious. Secondly, St. Paul is briefly stating the importance of the Church in our vocations, and exhorting us to stand fast by it. His mention of the Risen Lord is also strangely significant as it assures us that God is, indeed, guiding us through the Church. Finally, St. Paul says in a very touching manner "then He appeared to me..." again showing how one must receive his own vocation from God and recognize the great things God has done for him and accept those things with humility.
Finally, the Gospel... this wonderful, wonderful Gospel about St. Peter and the fish. St. Peter appears on the scene as he is... a man of strong will to whom God had not yet spoken. Jesus looks at Peter, and knows that this man will one day be the rock on which He would build His Church. After the amazing story of the miraculous catch of fish, we see St. Peter saying "Lord, I am a sinful man, depart from me." Surprisingly, the first pure understanding we receive of Our Lord's call tends to affect us in this same manner. We realize how utterly undeserving we are and cannot bear to be in the presence of One so good. But Jesus understands our humanity... and He calls us anyway. This is exactly what He did for Peter "Come, you will be a fisher of men." Then Peter followed Him, and that poor sinful man, who was so weak so as to thrice deny Jesus, became the firm and unbreakable rock on which the Church was built.
This story of St. Peter especially illustrates for me the necessity of faith, obedience, and submission to Christ. It shows how God's will for us goes beyond our wildest dreams. The fisherman, perhaps expecting no more in life than to remain a fisherman, became the visible head of God's Church on earth. Truly there is no better example for us in our vocations than St. Peter! Even more proof of this can be taken from our knowledge of Peter. It was he who affirmed that Christ was the Chosen One of God! This knowledge could only come from the Father, and the Father chose to give it to this poor fisherman. Peter later suffered a heroic and gruesome death for Christ's sake... do you think that when he was first called he would have had strength to do this?
As you can see, there is an astounding number of vocational concepts contained in this week's liturgy. I hope that you will take a moment to pray to Sts. Peter an Paul about your vocations... asking them to pray that you will receive the wisdom and faith that helped them to be Christ's apostles. I also pray that you will never forget the amazing teachings contained in this week's liturgy, and use them to help you throughout your vocation. God bless!