Saturday, May 8, 2010
The Mystery of a Vocation-Part One
All too often vocations are seen as no more than doors which open and expose light for a short time, and then close forever, without leaving anything behind or taking anything into it. The great supernatural mystery of a vocation remains just that... a mystery, a veil of gray cloud behind which the most extraordinary truth bubbles like a brook. The beauty of the soul is lost beneath the normality of its body... a face no longer reflects a soul greater than any star, a soul greater than the history of the world, a life comparable to that of the Almighty, a depth and complexity surpassing all other creation... but only a face in a sea of faces, another animal walking about. It is no wonder that this world is troubled by apathy of spirit, hate, and fear... it is a wonder that it survives at all. It survives only because the Spirit of God is not selfish, and He spreads understanding among souls like the sun shines its light among trees... perhaps full understanding never reaches us, just as the light the trees receive is only a reflection, but there is enough that if we make an effort to see, we will one day lose our blindness and see the Face of God and truly live.
What is a vocation? Is it really as important as all this? Is it not simply the way one chooses to live his life? I have never found a definition that suited the flowing magnificence of the human vocation as well as this single word: love. The vocation shows itself in three ways... each a cloud that gently gives way to another while always remaining a mist, to reveal itself in its own time.
The first, last, and most important of these is our eternal vocation. Jesus, Who has known us for all time, waits trembling for its fulfillment. This vocation is the eternal bond we will have with Jesus in heaven... a bond of perfect love and the purest happiness. For Jesus has given to us our own unique strain of His whole and entire love, more infinite than all the heavens. It is a strain of love that only we can satisfy, one that only we can share. Each one of us is more precious to Him than the most perfect pearl, for we are the "only ones" who can fill this one need of a God Who possesses eternity and can give everything without ever reducing His kingdom... but Who can only receive love from an independent being. For this He yearns, and for this were we created... this vocation is not within our life, it is our life.
Within this vocation is our earthly test... oh, how short a time is our life here! But, our material lives are of the greatest importance to our existence, for it is by merit of our humanity that we can give to God. Our free wills, and free choice to love or not to love, is the very reason why God loves us so much, and has given us so much. He has made us His sons and daughters, His heirs, who alone can share in all His immense treasures. Therefore each moment that we live, the "now" that we experience, is our chance to fulfill our vocations by loving God and giving Him ourselves and all we do as a result of this love. If I love God now, and were to die a moment from now, my vocation will have been fulfilled on earth and my eternal vocation will begin. How foolish are those who believe once a day, or even once a week, is enough to think of God! How foolish are those who do not consider moment by moment the opportunity they have to love God, and the love He flourishes upon them!
God has created humanity as something new, and entirely unique. We do not dwell always in the spiritual world as the angels do... but we have been given a body, and set within space and time. All around us we perceive with our senses beauty in many forms, be it wind or scenery or delicious fruit. We do not float on a sea of moving water, neither moving nor choosing which way to go nor recognizing scenery along the way... we ourselves walk, and choose the path down which we should go. We are not oblivious to our surroundings, but are affected and influenced by them. For instance, we do not pass over thorns in bare feet without noticing them and we do not eat without noticing the taste. Therefore, our vocation is not a passive purpose over which we have no control... it is a goal pointed out to us towards which we actively travel.
This brings us to the third vocation, the committed vocation. It is this vocation with which we are meant to serve God and others. Be it through marriage, single life, or religious life. These are the means through which we can find heaven, and with which we can present gifts to God. Indeed, God has known for all time what our vocation would be... you see, we are each created so uniquely and so specially. We have been created with the freedom of choice and the ability of defining our own future, we have been created with an extraordinary capacity for thought and feeling... and only God can understand us enough to know what would fulfill us. He has known for all time the size of our chalice of pain and our cup of happiness and, while he puts only a few drops in the chalice, He fills our cup to overflowing. Do you ever think that God is so restricted to time that He cannot know our thoughts and actions before they exist? Do you ever think that God is so materially based that His book must first be written before He can know its contents? No, God has known for all time what our choices would be, and what our lives would be like, but it is we ourselves who make the choices and decide the nature of our lives; the words in His book originate in us.
Because we have been made extraordinary, and have been given a share in the life of Divinity, all this seems very ordinary and natural. A coverlet, an apple, a footstep, the swing of a hoe, the aging of a muscle... these are very natural to us, no? And yet you have seen that we make very little of the greatness of God's creation. As we live our vocations, as we remain on earth weak and full of faults, we have the capacity for greatness through love. It is impossible for us to always be conscious of the immensity of God's greatness, but daily we participate in the miracle of life and daily we witness to something more... Therefore, accept your smallness and nothingness in such a great world and in the light of such a mighty God... but do not take for granted the capacity for life and love with which you were created. We have been created to dwell in eternity, let our lives show that we value this fact and let us be an expression of the perfection of Christ throughout our lives on earth.
Dear Jesus, I love You. I live to love You, to love You as You have never been loved before. I live to bear You with pride within my heart, and to give You to others with a generosity to which only You have a right. Day to day may seem long... but it is not nearly long enough to give You all my heart desires to give before You give me the perfect happiness You so desire me to have. Do not let my short life here on earth be wasted! Let me see You in others and spend myself for them as I will to spend myself for You. Let me give you the happiness of a soul saved, so mine will not have been created in vain. But most of all, let me love You... let me truly love You. Let me show my love through suffering and service... for I know I shall not have the chance to suffer in eternity. I am important because You love me, and for nothing else. Therefore I live not for myself, but for You, Whom I love.