Vocation: For God’s work and friendship

Rev. John Brucciani SSPX

The idea of a vocation is daunting to many young souls. Young people admire priests, monks, and nuns. They try to imagine what it must be like to be dressed in a religious habit; to share in the communal life of a religious house; to renounce the usual enjoyments and distractions of secular life; to become a reference point of virtue and knowledge; to counsel, to advise, to encourage, and to confess; to resign one's judgement and will into the hands of a superior; to work so hard, but never to reap the benefits, rewards, or recognition of one's work.

Viewed in such light, a vocation does indeed seem a daunting and disagreeable thing. Perhaps that is why so few youngsters dare to consider their own vocation. From a distance, a vocation seems to warrant a forlorn life, best suited to those who do not feel right in this world, and who would most certainly make better use of their lives if they withdrew into the discretion and solitude of a monastery.

If it were true that God only called or used the socially inept, good-for-nothings, worldly-unwise drop-outs, our seminaries and monasteries would be overflowing!

In a world, so given over to self-realisation, achievement, and ambition, it is indeed surprising that so few Catholic souls think of making their lives really worthwhile. Those endowed with a little talent and will power are prepared to labour hard in order to make a difference. They work, they toil, they take risks. Whether artist, author, soldier, or businessman, they may indeed achieve something to be proud of, but deep down they remain unsatisfied; experience breeds wisdom, and wisdom whispers that all is but dust and ashes.

How fortunate, therefore, are the young souls who, from the very onset of life, dedicate their lives, their work, their efforts, their dreams, their toil, their labor, their ambition—in short, their very selves—to what really counts: God and the hunting of souls.

It is perhaps the simplicity of purpose that makes youngsters wary. Asked what they would like to do with life, they enumerate a variety of dreams and ambitions. The more they achieve, the more varied and colourful they imagine their lives will be. God and the salvation of souls seems so very grey and bland in comparison.

And yet it is the other way around. Dust and ashes are grey and bland, while the service of God and souls sparkles with life, purpose, merriment, and joy. We never labour in vain. We never strive for limited goals. Our work produces infinite wealth. We build eternal palaces. We change not lives, but destinies.

A vocation is certainly a life well spent. Despite difficulties, even failure, we have nothing to regret in this life, except perhaps our lack of generosity. Consecrated souls are labourers in our Lord's vineyard. They are shepherds tending His flock. Their devotedness and tenacity brings glory to God and saves souls. What a wonderfully fruitful way to live one's life!

But there is more to a vocation than simply making our lives worthwhile. Our Lord is not just our Master; He is also the Friend and Spouse of our soul. He hopes that we won't just work for Him, but love Him, too, so that He may share with us the delights of Divine Friendship.

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