A Christian Vocation: Come Follow Me
When the Rich young Man asked Jesus “what must I do to inherit eternal life,” He looked lovingly upon him with a special love and invited him to follow him unconditionally, without any attachments (his riches) (1CwG:III/419). The young man sees his vocation all at once; it is a call to total commitment. His meeting with Jesus reveals to him the meaning and the fundamental purpose of his life.
God calls everyone. Each man, each woman, should be able to discover the particular path to which God calls him or her. And He calls us all to holiness, to generosity, to detachment, to self-giving. To every one of us He speaks in the depth of our heart: “Come. Follow Me.” (1CwG:III/21) In one way or another Christ has called all of us to follow him closely, to imitate him and to make him known to others. (1Cw/G:III/88)
He called to Him those whom He desired. A vocation is always, and above anything else, a choice on God’s part. Our Lord calls us to continue his redemptive work in the world. God always gives, along with a vocation, the grace needed to persevere in it, because, as St. Thomas teaches, God prepares those He has chosen for a mission, and disposes them so that they are able to carry out what they were chosen to do. (1CwG:III/87) The twelve apostles, as the years passed, would remember the moment they were chosen as the most important and transcendental moment of their lives. God wanted to use these men, even though none of them from the human point of view had the qualities required for a task with such far-reaching consequences. They received the grace they needed. (1Cw./G:III/88)
God’s call to us to follow Him closely demands a positive response at all times, because in His many invitations He asks of us a docile and generous life-long correspondence. There we should stand frequently in God’s presence and ask Him, as did the Rich Young Man, “What do I still lack? What does my Christian vocation require of me today, in my circumstances? What paths do you want me to follow?“ (1CwG:II/422) The Christian discovers, in the things of everyday life, how his vocation should unfold in the undramatic daily texture of divine promptings and inspirations…of significant moments, of specific “calls” to carry out for the sake of God’s love, lesser or greater tasks in the world of men. (1CwG:III/423)
The discovery of our personal vocation is the most important moment in our whole existence. Our happiness and the happiness of many others depend on our faithful response to this call. If there are so many Christians who today live aimlessly with little depth, and hemmed in on all sides by narrow horizons, it is due, above all, to their lack of any clear idea of why they personally exist.. …What elevates a man and truly gives him a personality of his own is the consciousness of his vocation, the consciousness of his own specific task in the universe. (1CwG:III/89)
It is not sufficient merely to keep our vocation intact. It is necessary to renew it constantly and reaffirm it. If we make an effort to grow in holiness, in love for Christ and for all men for Christ’s sake, we will ensure our faithfulness, and at the same time experience joy and increased charity; our life will be full of meaning. (1CwG:III/90) Fidelity to our vocation is fidelity to God, to the mission He entrust us with and for which we have been created; it is our specific and personal way of giving glory to God.
One’s vocation embraces one’s whole life, and our whole being works toward fulfillment of the Divine Mission. In his own place and circumstances, each man has a God-given vocation. The Divine will desire many other things that depend on the fulfillment of that vocation. “Many great things depend on whether you and I live our lives as God wants. (U. Escriva) (1CwG:1/59) Do we bring the people around us closer to God? Do we give good example in the way we carry out our work, in our family circle, in our social relation? Do we speak about God to others?” (1CwG:I/59)
For each one of us, our vocation is the central theme of our lives. It is the axis around which everything else turns. Everything, or almost everything, depends on our knowing and carrying out what “God asks of us.” But in spite of its being the key that opens the door to happiness, there are many who do not want to know what their vocation is. They prefer to do what pleases them, to do their own will instead of God’s will, to remain in a state of culpable ignorance instead of seeking in all sincerity the road that will lead them to happiness and enable them to reach heaven in safety as well as to bring this same joy to many others. God calls us through what happens in the ordinary course of our day, through the sorrows and joys of the people we live with, through the human interests of all our colleagues and the things that go to make up our family life. He also calls us through the great problems, conflicts, and challenges of each period of history. (1CwG:I/87)
Our Lord has chosen all of us – some of us with a specific vocation- to follow Him, to imitate Him and to carry on in the world the work of His Redemption. (1CwG:I/27) In the Church nobody is an isolated Christian. From the time of baptism each person is a part of a people – the true family of the children of God. It was the will of God to sanctify and save mankind, not in isolation, separated from one another or without forming a people that would acknowledge it in us and serve it in holiness. “Baptism is the door through we enter the Church, and in the Church, we are all – priests and laity – called to holiness (Lumen gentium, 9) (1CwG:I/379) each one in his own state of life and condition, and to the exercise of the apostolate.
Selections from the seven volume set of “In Conversation with God” by Fr. Francis Fernandez