Vocation is not something abstract but rather something concrete. It is the answer to a call of what God wants us to be. It is not a road free from obstacles, but rather a dynamic path that keeps us alive and makes us discover the hope that inhabits us and makes us capable of moving forward.
PUBLISHED ONJul 2018
Discerning and discovering one’s vocation requires taking concrete steps. It makes us keep moving and remaining faithful in the hope and in the love of God as He makes Himself the way for us. As St. Paul says, “Each one of us has been given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ” (Ephesians 4: 7), a measure that goes beyond our personal capabilities.
The grace of vocation leads us to look at life in a different way. It dares us to live a special and unique way in an experience of holding hands with the Lord of all hope.
To embark on the adventure of discernment of vocation is to open up to a range of possible paths. It is not a matter of turning a blind eye to certain paths, so as to opt or decide for one. On the contrary, it is allowing oneself to look at the various possible paths in general and at each specific one.
This looking strengthens the discovery of the richness of each vocation and allows a clearer and more objective discernment. In fact, looking at the possible ways, putting defects in some and virtues in others, is to deny the beauty and gift that God offers to each one and the possibility of respecting and appreciating the richness and the gift in those who have already done an option, and are doing it each day.
Looking at the diversity of paths is, therefore, the basis for a discernment of the will of God, that is, the basis for discovering the gift, the beauty and the happiness that God reserves for each person.
Opt For A Path
Discernment is not a static moment; on the contrary, it is something dynamic that accompanies us throughout our lives. As we look at the possible ways by confronting them with what we are and what we want to be, the journey begins. The path which will make us happy is the one God has reserved for us. Nothing is mathematical or automatic when it comes to life choices.
So opting for a path is something that imposes itself on us, so that we can fulfill ourselves as persons; but it is also something that requires care and accompaniment.
This option for a path cannot be understood as fatalism or as a “loss” of possibilities. On the contrary, this option must be made in the certainty that we are not alone, that we will not “lose possibilities or opportunities”, but that this option will offer us a sea of new possibilities and opportunities that will fulfill us.
St. Daniel Comboni, founder of the Comboni Missionaries, warns us that “The great works of God are only born at the foot of Calvary”(Writings, 2325).
In this sense, opting for a path is not synonymous with choosing the easiest one. To say “Yes” to God’s call is to say “Yes” to a happiness that is neither experienced nor accomplished without effort. However, since God is present in our choice, He gives us the strength of perseverance, insofar as we remain united with Him. Thus, opting for a path becomes an option for Christ, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14: 6).
Set Out On The Way…
After looking at the different paths and choosing one, one must dare to take the necessary steps to tread on, without losing sight of the goal which we propose ourselves. Setting out on the way is to do something concrete so that the vocation is fulfilled.
It’s not about taking big steps, but about walking. The time to “contemplate” the path we want to take has to lead us to take concrete steps, a dynamic attitude characteristic of a pilgrim who is gradually discovering the path that leads towards the goal that he or she intends to reach.
From the very beginning, this journey has to be done hand in hand with our Mother Church. After all, is it not in the Church that we grow and move since the day of our baptism? Although at times closer and sometimes more distant, is it not in the Church that we find the Way, in which we live, move and exist (Acts 17, 27-28)? Is it not the Church that, through concrete people, helps us discern and set out on the way? In the Church we find the space and the means that will accompany us on the journey.
In fact, without a proactive attitude, our choice for the Path becomes static and theoretical, producing no concrete effects in our heart or in our lives. To set out on the way is to dare to do “anything” in order to reach the goal, allowing this first “anything” to be joined by other small actions that, over time, become the path that has been travelled.
Ups And Downs
One cannot have the illusion that the path is linear and continuous. Like the beat of the heart, the path of vocation is made of ups and downs, deviations and reversals. All of these are human and part of a journey that is greater than ourselves.
God walks with us, both when we walk or when we get lost. He is our hope to respond with joy to the gift of love that He offers us.
There’s a poem that says: “Stones on the way? I keep them all, and one day I will build a castle.” Life is full of proposals and alternatives and it is not always easy to be true to our vocation. However, precisely because we are not alone in the path we tread, it is always possible to return to the path, bringing with us what we have learned from other experiences.
However, in order not to lose hope, we must maintain always in our daily horizon the goal that we set ourselves to achieve, making our daily choices and options for our personal and community fulfillment.
God is our hope when we set out to tread a path, recognizing our smallness and fragility in the face of it. It is important to see this path as a gift offered by God and, in this sense, something greater than ourselves, something that brings us to full personal fulfillment with God and with our brothers and sisters.