When we talk about ‘vocation’ in the Church, it more or less implies a vocation to the priesthood or the religious life; and yet this approach gives the impression that the idea of vocation is limited only to those who are going to become priests or religious.
But, of course, we all have a vocation: we are all called to some form of partnership with Christ who calls each and every one of his followers to sanctify the world by his or her personal witness and example. “As the Father sent me, so I send you”.
To be a Christian doesn’t mean to be, what used to be called “a holier than thou Joe”, or a “Bible Basher”. But we are all called to witness to Christian values in the way we live our lives and especially in the way we relate to other people; we are after all, social creatures. None of us is an island. And yet, so many of us say and do the right things on Sunday but the rest of the week we live our lives just like anyone else. We may lie, cheat, steal. We are not true to our word. We let people down and disappoint them. We live as if there was only “me” to please.
And yet for us Catholics and especially those of us who try to practice Catholicism on a daily basis, a great responsibility is laid on our shoulders. We may not be called upon to witness to our faith in an heroic way, like a martyr, but we are called upon to witness to our values and beliefs in the way we speak and behave, in the choices we make, and in the way we relate with others.
And so it stands to reason then that a Christian shouldn’t swear or gossip or use foul language. A Christian shouldn’t drink to excess or abuse drugs or other people. A Christian shouldn’t fall out with his friends or pick arguments and fights. A Christian shouldn’t bear a grudge or withhold his compassion and forgiveness. A Christian shouldn’t think first and foremost, about himself or herself, but rather the good of the other person. A Christian should be true to his word and stick to his promises and agreements. A Christian should be prepared to make a stand for his values and beliefs. I suppose in all these ways we are called to be martyrs – the word martyr of course meaning witness.
As Christians – as Catholics – we are called upon to be an example to the world. And when we look at the world we live in doesn’t it need all the help it can get? As Christians we are called upon to love: to love not only our own family and our close friends and those we get on well with, but to love all those with whom we share our lives; even our enemies and those who hate us and have no time for us.
As Christians we are called upon to be people of peace: but how do we express the peace of Christ in our own situations: in our community, at school, at work, in the home, in the supermarket, even in church?
As Christians we are called upon to be generous in giving ourselves and what we have to others. How do we use our talents and our gifts and our material resources in the service of others? Or do we only think about ourselves?
If you call yourself a Christian and a Catholic, consider today what your vocation is, what is God calling you to do with your life, and ask yourselves how you put into practice what the Lord teaches and what the Church asks of you.
As the Father sent me, so I send you