Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Call and Answer

Friends, again I ask you, what about today? What are you seeking? What is God whispering to you? The hope which never disappoints is Jesus Christ. The saints show us the selfless love of his way. As disciples of Christ, their extraordinary journeys unfolded within the community of hope, which is the Church. It is from within the Church that you too will find the courage and support to walk the way of the Lord. Nourished by personal prayer, prompted in silence, shaped by the Church’s liturgy you will discover the particular vocation God has for you. Embrace it with joy. You are Christ’s disciples today. Shine his light upon this great city and beyond. Show the world the reason for the hope that resonates within you. Tell others about the truth that sets you free.
--Pope Benedict XVI
Greeting to Young People
St Joseph's Seminary, Dunwoodie
19 April 2008

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As some might know, this is National Vocation Awareness Week. And, hopefully this isn't news to anyone, but this is of universal importance as every single one of you has a vocation.

Now, don't panic: this doesn't mean you're to drop everything and make for the nearest seminary or convent -- but if that's what you're feeling called to do, then go for it, thanks for your "yes" and know you've got our prayers and support!

For somewhere around 99% of the Church, however, our vocation lies elsewhere. These tend to be categorized by states of life but, in reality, there are as many wildly diverse, desperately needed vocations out there as there are the number of us -- and whatever form it might take, what you (yes, YOU!) are called to do, the gift you've got to share, is something no one else can bring to life as well or as fully as you can.

And, thing is, much as some might not realize it, think it too crazy or needless or (worst of all) try and fight these movements of the Spirit, the call is in you -- and it's there for a reason.

Whatever it is, the signs are universal: it's what makes you burn, brings you joy, makes life good, gets you up in the morning (sometimes keeps you awake in the night, too) and, even with the knowledge that it'll never be fully perfect nor without its sufferings, burdens and trials, you really can't see yourself doing any other thing with your days and giving it everything you've got.

In a nutshell, your call is that one thing above the rest which makes you happy and brings life to you and others. You'll know it simply by finding it -- and in some cases, even now, even if you don't think you know it, somewhere down deep inside, it's already there and maybe just needs a little extra figuring out.

Many of us have been blessed to find this "project of God" in our lives, summon up the courage to try and -- warts, limitations, sins and all -- start down the path. Something seems to say, though, that just as many of us either haven't found it or, for one reason or another, are holding back.

For those of the latter bunch, a simple word of advice from one who's been there: whatever the call is, whatever's keeping you from moving with it, don't be afraid -- just do it, because you never know what'll happen until you let it fly... and in case you could use an example of what can come to pass when you do, well, you're reading this right now, aren't you?

So, friends, "what about today? What are you seeking? What is God whispering to you?"

As with every other good thing, only in the silence can we truly hear and know the answer, and only then can we begin to move closer to the place we each belong.

"What are you seeking? What is God whispering to you?" And if you've already heard it, well, what're you gonna do about it?

Even for those of us well-set along our paths, our seeking and listening days are never really behind us. In that light -- and because, once it's found, every vocation needs its nourishment and renewal -- these pages are going quiet for a few days, that the daily feed of what's doing elsewhere doesn't distract any among us from hearing the most important Whispers of all.

God love you lot... and don't worry -- by the looks of it, next week will be rather loud. In the meantime, happy listening.