What is your calling? How do you seek to live Christ? How do you understand your discipleship to Jesus Christ? One’s “call to discipleship,” one’s entire life in Christ, is and must be a major ongoing concern in the life of every Christian. The call to follow Christ is not something that happens once, nor is it something to be safely encased in sacraments, such as baptism and Eucharist. Nor is it something for priests and religious only. One either lives one’s vocation daily, ever seeking to be more faithful to God in Christ, or one does not.
Sacramentalism would take form in such beliefs as: “I was baptized as an infant; I was confirmed; I attend Mass fairly regularly.” Sharing in these sacramental actions is a beginning, and part of the foundation for your life in Christ. But it is far from sufficient. Ultimately, your calling from God is to be true to yourself, to be true to the human being God creates you to be day in, day out. But again, that does not mean you just “do your own thing,” and sing out, “I did it my way.” That will not do, for it would be a godless existence, like that lived by many in our society. To be the human being God created you to be, and continually recreates you to be, you and I must be ever attentive to the Spirit, ever listening, ever obeying. Fidelity to one’s vocation is not a one-time affair, but an ever-ongoing response to the Spirit—to God’s presence in you and with you.
The beginning of your calling, your vocation, reaches into the mind of God, into which we cannot peer. All of human history, in which we share, is relevant for your calling. All that has unfolded in Christ, and surely in the People of God, Israel, and in the Catholic Church, is part of your vocation. You are not an isolated individual, even though each of us must ever answer personally and directly to God, whose Judgment is Now. No one can escape the searching eye of Heaven, which constantly searches us, tests us, challenges us, transforms us with our free cooperation. Your entire existence, from the moment of your creation-conception, is part of your calling—of the human being you are in God.
And yet, there are certain occasions in our life—often when the bottom seems to drop out, or “the rug is pulled out from under us”—when we get shaken to the core, and either wholeheartedly surrender ourselves to God in love, or we run away and hide. There are moments when God breaks into your consciousness in some powerful way, and you must respond wholeheartedly. To do less than give all to God would be a subtle and perhaps unknown form of betrayal. “You cannot serve God and wealth,” as Jesus says. You cannot serve God and self, as in “I will do as I wish—it’s my life.” No, it is not simply yours. “You were bought with a price,” and now belong to Christ. Your life is to allow Christ to live in you, with you, through you. That is your essential vocation.
Do not think about flying to Indonesia to “concert the unbelievers.” Do not engage in mindless talk about “changing the world.” Have you not yet discovered that you are nearly powerless to change yourself? The best that anyone can do is to cooperate with the wisdom and love of God, who is ever at work reforming us, molding us from within—to the extent that we freely cooperate. God does not treat us as puppets, or playthings, or as things that He can do with as He wills. The LORD Almighty respects our unique freedom, and constantly demands us freely to surrender, freely to love, and “freely give, for freely you have received.”
Living in complete and unreserved response and obedience to God is your vocation and mine. That is what it means to be a man or woman in Christ, and a child of Abraham, “our father in faith.”