“What must I do to inherit eternal life?”
This exact question is asked of Jesus two times in the gospels, by two different people, and he gives them different answers.
I stumbled across this conundrum shortly before making my first vows and ended up using my reflection to write an article for the newsletter.
Vocation is a deeply personal mystery. Anyone who read that article was probably very confused when I left-maybe as confused as I was. I wrote about how our desires can lead us to God’s will and that the deepest desire of my heart was “total consecration to God through religious life.”
The key part of this desire is “total consecration”-at the root of everything I desire to be for the Lord has been the call to give him everything. He asked me to discern if that might mean religious life, but as time went on it became clear that he wanted my “everything” in a different way. This is hard to grapple with, because it’s hard to imagine a more concrete way of giving him everything.
How do we discover the answer to this nagging question: what must I do? How do we discover our vocations? This is a question which plagues all Catholic young people earnestly seeking God’s will. We can get ourselves all bent out of shape being paranoid about doing “the right thing.” I know this from experience, because it’s something I’ve been obsessed with for my whole life.
When I was beginning to wonder if God might want me elsewhere, one thing that was tugging on my heart was writing. I don’t know if being a writer can be considered a vocation, but I know for sure what is: being a prophet.
⇐ This is what writing feels like: it’s a pull on my heart, an addiction, a calling; I don’t have a choice.
And when something calls you that strongly, you go. Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while are probably rolling your eyes, because I’ve had this revelation before and was determined to do something about it. I think it will stick this time though because, “I am weary of holding it in.”
Most of the time the simple cliche “listen to your heart,” actually does the trick. Whatever you have gifts and talents for, whatever you are strongly attracted to, go for it! God will let you know if your desires and his will are aligned.
“It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will go up for us to heaven, and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us, and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.”
– Deuteronomy 30:12-14
At the end of the day, what he really wants is all my trust, all my love, my whole life given over to him. And this giving everything for the sake of the gospel that each and every one of us is called to, looks different. We are all asking the same question: “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus gives each of us a unique, personal mission that is the answer to that question. Yet somehow, in the masterful way that only the gospels can convey, the answer Jesus gives to the rich young man is behind his answer to each of us.
“…go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”