I was talking to a friend recently about her future and she revealed that she really doesn’t know what will make her happy and can’t quite put her finger on what her deepest passions are. Another friend distressingly confided in me that he feels like he doesn’t know who he truly is. As I take part in conversations such as this and get to know people in their mid-twenties, and even older, who don’t know themselves, my heart breaks to see us drifting away from who we are meant to be.
Over the lifetime of this blog, I’ve referred over and over again to the need to convert how we say things back into the language of the Holy. The topic of vocation is no different. We need to reintroduce a language of vocation, a language of calling, into the culture.
When I tell people that I’m going to be a Sister, they ask me how I decided that. I didn’t decide! This shouldn’t even be a question – we should all be aware that we have a unique calling in life and know how to discern that calling. Religious life chose me – it is my calling from God. My vocation is a gift which I can choose to receive or refuse.
In reflecting on and praying about the apparent lack of self-awareness among my peers, I began wondering, why am I different? Why, at such a seemingly young age do I know my vocation and have the courage to respond to God’s persistent call? The reason is that God placed amazing mentors, spiritual directors, and friends in my life who asked the right questions.
We ask children what they want to be when they grow up. This makes no sense! We are not “whats”, we are “who.” We should be asking one another, who are you? and really be interested in the answer.
And this brings me to another point – it is only through relationships that we can discover our true selves. We are made in the image and likeness of a God who is a communion of persons! We were made by Love, to love, and to be loved.
Another crazy Truth which has been revealed to me lately, which can seem a little overwhelming, is the fact that, since God is infinite, there are an infinite amount of ways to express His love. We often try to box vocation into the categories of marriage, singlehood, and religious life, but the fact is there is an endless amount of ways to live out the universal call to holiness. A vocation is a specific and deeply personal invitation from God. Each person reaches holiness by living out Love in a unique way.
The fact is that the of the deepest questions of our hearts are: “what is my purpose?” and more importantly, “who am I?”
The YOUCAT (Youth Catechism – It’s wonderful) acknowledges the importance of asking these questions: “The purpose of our life is to be united with God in love and to correspond entirely with God’s wishes. We should allow God “to live his life in us”(Mother Teresa)…Every man asks himself the question: Who am I and why am I here, how do I find myself? Faith answers: only in holiness does man become that for which God created him…Holiness…is union with the incarnate love that is Christ.”