One of the biggest questions of today, particularly for youth and young adults is: What do I do with my life? For us Catholics, this question translates to: What is my vocation? And this question can be an agonizing one.
Am I called to the priesthood? Religious life? To marriage? Well then, why hasn't my husband or wife arrived already?
So many of us have found ourselves uncommitted to a permanent state of life way further into adulthood than we would have liked. (And I do not pretend to have all the answers to this particular dilemma! Those thoughts are for another blog!) But I do have a few points concerning our vocations that I think are worth pondering.
A few years back, I had the unique privilege of going on a very intimate retreat with the brilliant and renowned author, Reverend Jacques Philippe. He gave a talk on vocations that truly stunned me.
He pointed out that many in our generation are looking far into the distance for the big “call” for our lives, overly concerned with what Jesus wants us to do with our future. And yet all the while, God is calling us in countless little ways today.
He said: if we learn to listen to that quiet and gentle voice of Christ in our daily lives, and respond to the very little calls of Jesus, saying yes to whatever He is asking of us today, then all these little calls will string together and the big “call” for our lives will just naturally and organically unfold.
When I heard this, I thought it was the most brilliant thing ever! And then I realized: this requires a great deal of trust on our part.
Do I really trust that if I only worry about today, God will truly take care of my future? That He will work out even the smallest details of my life?
Recently I heard another priest give a talk on one of my very favorite modern saints, Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati. And this priest said something about him, which I had never considered:
“Pier Giorgio knew what it felt like to be vocation-less, but that did not keep him from becoming a saint. Because he chose to love.”
Everywhere Pier Giorgio turned toward a vocation, he essentially hit a wall. He wanted to enter the priesthood, but his father would not allow it. He fell in love with a girl whom he wanted to marry, but their families would not accept one another. Then he dreamed of becoming a mining engineer, that he might “serve Christ better among the poor,” but even that never became a reality.
Yet he became such a beloved saint of our time—an example for so many of us who might also feel lost, might have shattered dreams, might continue to keep hitting walls—not because he was so successful, but because no matter where he was, he simply chose to love those around him.
It was incredibly simple.
We get so concerned with our futures... What is God calling me to? What is my mission? My dream, my goal, my path, my destiny? Where is my spouse? What am I called to do with my life?
When really the answer is so simple: love the Lord; and love the person that is right in front of you.
As St. Therese of Lisieux said with such wisdom (especially for our generation!):
“I have finally found my vocation. It is love!”
Our primary vocation is love. But again, this takes great trust. If we worry more about loving those in our lives than trying to figure out our tomorrow, can we trust that God will work out all the other details?
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