Friday, May 09, 2008

The Sevenfold Gifts of Grace

If there's such a thing as a "season of hope," friends, this is it.

Sure, the weather's warm again (and not soon enough), the trees and flowers are back to life, the days are longer, etc.... but this is the time of year when, more than any other, God's projects among us -- not as predictable as those of nature, but just as designed -- come to fruition in spades.

Truly, in the fullest sense of the word, it's "Vocation Season." Just look around -- graduations, weddings and, of course, ordinations... each the end of years of discernment and preparation, each a new beginning sprung from a definitive "yes," each taken up as much for the good of those around us as our own, all intended to go forth with joy and bear fruit all around, whether the commitment at hand is building a family, building up a profession or charism, or in the selfless service of orders.

Receiving a Roman parish council last spring, B16 observed to the group that "Every person carries within himself a project of God, a personal vocation, a personal idea of God on what he is required to do in history to build his church, a living Temple of his presence."

Got yours?

Hopefully you've found it already... and if you haven't yet, no worries. Just keep looking -- whatever it is, it's out there. And it's waiting. For you.

In the meantime, church, these are joyous days: in the morning, a dear friend's being ordained to the transitional diaconate, next week my sister graduates from college, and another longtime friend's getting married next month. Many others among us, many of you, are either approaching these life-giving steps or cheering on loved ones who are in the weeks to come.

Whether we find ourselves close by or far from these annual rites of a new springtime in our midst, remember everyone preparing for one of these moments in your prayers -- across the board, their faith and courage are great, and whatever their mission ahead, they deserve all the support they can get from us all.

And for those of you who'll be seeing your "project" into reality and entering into the new life that comes with it, every best wish in the world. As your new journey begins, may every gift of joy, strength and fulfillment be yours always... and may your "yes" open the door to everything you hoped for and then some.