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Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Vocation is a Gift

Last night I learned that a friend of mine is entering a prominent religious community in August. It came as a complete surprise to me for a few reasons, but I'm THRILLED for her! Of course, she is quite joyful and looks forward to going, and I hope to hear more about her discernment in how this happened for her.

When she told me, though, I admit that I felt a twinge of jealousy.  Here I've been discerning my tail off for a few years, had several months of quite intense stuff (including the visits from last summer and the agony from last fall), am STILL looking to possibly visit a community or two this summer, God willing, but more and more unsure of any of this. I think I've considered every possible Vocation in existence and have come to nothing so far.

Then she traipses in, sits down next to me and says, "Oh, by the way..."


I'm happy for her and happy to share in her joy. I absolutely revel at the mystery of God and how He reveals His gifts to us when we are ready to receive them, and what He requires of us to prepare us for whatever He has to give us.

The one thing I always have to work so hard to consider is that a Vocation isn't an entitlement;  it is purely a GIFT from God. I always forget this, yet it's such an important part of discernment for anyone. A Vocation is a Gift.

I have written before, several times, in fact, that everyone has a vocation, and that is true. We are all called into being, prepared for something, and our vocation is a foundational part of living to fulfillment. It is the path by which we might enter Heaven, and it can be accepted or rejected.

That said, there's another part to all of that; if we aren't ready to receive the gift of vocation, then it is not yet ours

Consider for a moment that perhaps a son or daughter is slated to receive an inheritance. A wise parent or perhaps guardian will know that just because it will rightfully belong to that particular person, it cannot be given indiscriminately.  Remember the story of the Prodigal son? Remember what he did with HIS inheritance?  Sometimes when I hear or read that particular parable I consider that it is much like a Vocation, in that he demanded what had not yet been offered, asserting his own will and desires over that of his Father who knew him better than he knew himself.  He wasn't yet ready to receive his Vocation, and in grabbing it out of turn, he turned what should have been something beautiful into pig slop.

There are many dimensions to the story of the Prodigal Son, and I'll stop my analogy there, at least for now.

The point I'm trying to make is this:  Vocation is a Heavenly inheritance that cannot be given until a soul is prepared to receive it. If it is "asserted" or taken out of turn, it can be dangerous, not just for the soul, but for others as well, for none of us exists in a vacuum. What we do matters to others, too.

For my part, I have realized that I am not ready to receive the gift of a Vocation, and so I am on a path that will hopefully prepare me for whatever God has to offer. To anyone discerning, what is important is to surrender to God, trusting not just in His perfect will, but His perfect timing as well. 

Please pray for my friend and all those who have received the gift of their Vocation.

**Comments are closed as this is too personal to open for comments.***