Trust in Him

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Mystery of a Vocation-Part Two

We do not merely float down a river, neither moving nor taking note of our surroundings,
we walk actively down the path pointed out to us, seeking a future goal.

Do to my lengthy description of my theory of a vocation, I find that I need to continue my last post in order to explain more thoroughly the mystery of a vocation. There are two misconceptions in this world about vocations which miss the point entirely. The first is that vocations are utterly simple... if you want to live a certain way of life and it is God's will that you do, you will come across the means to live it and that is the end of it. The second is that there are no real definite vocations, and thus no need for discernment, but rather "living" without seeking a state of life, until it comes to you. Both of these misconceptions neglect to admit that God has a very complex and beautiful plan for our lives, and that following this plan is never as simple as opening and shutting a window.

Although God calls us to a committed vocation (see Part One), this vocation is never stationary, it is a way of life. For instance, God may call a woman to motherhood... but does her journey end there? No, she must raise the children, make decisions, and observe the vows of marriage. Likewise the calling to a cloister does not end when a girl walks through the convent doors... she must then observe the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience and serve God and others in the work that He has chosen for her. For this reason, it is very important to remember that a vocation is a calling. God whispers, urges, and beckons us to a certain way of living, but after He has done this He continues to call us to actions and a deeper holiness.

It is difficult for some people to imagine why God would give a person multiple vocations. St. Collette spent four years as an anchoress before being called our of her house to be a Franciscan reformer. The parents of St. Therese both felt a strong calling to the religious life before marrying each other. Many other examples, especially in our modern day, present themselves. The truth is, following multiple vocations is not wasting time. On the contrary, to be called first to one state in life and progress to another is simply another example of the fact that a vocation is not stationary. Whether we are called to remain faithful followers of a certain vocation for our entire lives, or to follow God's will through another open door, our lives are always in discernment.

But what if one feels lost? What if many years of his life have gone by, or seemingly so, and still he has not found fulfillment? Most of us, indeed, are called to real and legible vocations which we understand and find some fulfillment in, but our journey, as I have said, never stops with a committed vocation. There is always the living vocation. This vocation is not so much the way we walk as the disposition of our hearts. If we know, love, and serve God then we are fulfilling our vocations on earth with every moment. This vocation, perhaps, requires the greatest courage. For one following this vocation will walk as a missionary in foreign lands, reflecting Christ's light to those around him and encouraging others in the defined path set out for them. Faith will be his only defense against wearying of life, and he will be constantly searching for something more. But do not think that his time is wasted, for as long as he lives he is loved by God and experiences a rapid growth that leads to heaven.

In discernment we are not searching for an end to all our troubles, or looking for a house in which to live. No, we are following a call... a call which we continue to follow all our lives. We do not know the future, and therefore, if we are wise, we rely heavily or entirely on God's will for us to direct our lives. As you live your life, and discern your vocation, never lose sight of faith. Never forget that we are all called to follow Jesus like lambs, and should be willing to walk as He directs. If we desire earnestly His will, and seek it with all our hearts, He will do extraordinary things within us... and one day, we shall see the Face of God in heaven, in the greatest and most absolute fulfillment of ourselves and all we have done.

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

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