Tuesday, November 16, 2010

How fortunate we are to follow our vocation!

"The birds sing louder to the rising sun as though endorsing my early morning picture of a bright and happy world, but one is obliged to follow on to the slightly sobering question: how many people do, in fact, find and follow their real vocation?

We Religious... how fortunate we are, for we have not only found it, but have, as far as human frailty permits, positively chained ourselves to it! That in itself is a great grace, and how many people out in the world, doing so precariously the thing which they love, would give their whole fortune to know that they would be able to go on doing it, better and better, crescendo upon crescendo, until they died! That can be true of every Religious. If we miss it, we miss it by our own fault, for there is nothing between us and it but the missing of our daily proffered grace. Health and age do not affect the issue because neither affects the soul but only the body. The value of a Religious who is constantly growing in the love of God, is a value which increases with every hour lived, and which cannot help but increase since its measure is the love of God.

It is true that almost the same may be said of those who find and follow their genuine vocation in the world, and if they love God, indeed, then exactly the same may be said. More often it is only true - with a difference. Who does not remember the names of those past-masters in art whom the world still flocked to see, to hear, to follow and to love, when they were old, because of the supreme point of ability and perfection which they had reached in their own subject, and which the passage of the years could never mar. But, even so, upon what a thread such earthly success hangs! An accident, an illness, a failure of some human organ and sense, and the earthly part of their career is at an end.

And, how small a number of them there are! Names which shine out in history are few and far between. Yet we were  all created for some individual purpose, within the greater purpose of our eternal salvation and, generally speaking, the quickest and surest way of reaching that purpose should, one would think, logically be open to us. Then how do we come to miss it?

And the answer, on supposes, is that the easiest way either to miss or to lose it is not to be sufficiently aware of its importance. That, after all, is how we come to miss and to lose things. First, of its immense importance to us, because it is our unique opportunity of doing the thing which we were created to do in the supernatural order. Then its natural importance to us also, because we shall so obviously do whatever we were created and equipped to do a great deal better than anything else which we might choose, or which might merely be chosen for us by others less wise and less loving than God. And further, its immense importance to those with whom we live, because a misfit is never a really happy person, nor a very congenial companion in any surroundings.

It is difficult to trace precisely what that unawareness consists in. Sometimes it arises from fear or nervousness: we get the opportunity but it involves a break-away from present circumstances and our courage fails us. We delay, we drift, and gradually the opportunity evaporates until, we hardly know how, it is no longer open to us. Or we set about considering the drawbacks to some new proposition. We forget that everything in life has its drawbacks and, finding small flaws in what is offered us, decide against what we may later discover to have been a chance in a lifetime.

But, in point of fact, if only we are wise enough to be on the lookout for it, it is not easy to miss our vocation, for, when we are young, it knocks at our door with astonishing persistence. Who does not know that idea which comes back and back into the mind? The particular way of life, or profession, or occupation, from which we never seem able to get away, but which is always turning up and meeting us in the most unlikely places."

-- Catch us those little foxes by A Carmelite Nun

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