Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Vocations Awareness Week- answering God's call in my life

            It is "Vocations Awareness Week".  

            I remember the first time I became aware of the concept of vocations.  I was a freshman in high school and was on a retreat that my best friend had invited me to attend with her.  One of the talks on the retreat was given by a religious sister and she spoke about God calling her to the religious life and about how, at first, she tried to ignore the call.  She told us that, as hard as she tried, she could not ignore God forever and eventually she answered His call and was now happily living out her life as a nun.  I listened to her story and found myself praying that God would NOT call me the way He had called her.   

I did not want to be a nun.  

I wanted to be a wife and mother.  

All of the sudden, I was afraid to try to listen to God for fear He might ask me to give up that dream for a life of habits and pious all day prayers and a cloistered existence in a convent.   At the time, I was young and silly and obviously did not really understand that the desire to be a wife and mother had been given to me by God himself.  Though, I felt a call to marriage in my heart, it took some time before I figured out that it was the life God wanted for me as well.  That it was, in fact, the vocation He was calling me to.  I understand now what that nun was trying to tell me so many years ago, that God truly does call us each to a vocation and that if we refuse to listen to and answer His call we will never be truly happy in life.   

         Vocations awareness is so important.  It is important for all of us to be aware of our own vocation and to be aware of the vocations of others, so that we may support them in answering God’s call.  Vocations awareness will help not only to bring greater openness to vocations to the religious life but also to bring greater understanding and respect to the vocation of marriage.  Both are so sorely lacking in our world today.

            Not surprisingly, the priesthood and religious, consecrated life are seen as stifling and unfulfilling by our society that values moral relativity and a self-centered existence.   And, even marriage is seen in a negative light these days.  Marriage is considered unnecessary, disposable, and old-fashioned.   As Catholics, we need to know that could not be farther from the truth.  Marriage is a sacrament, a sacred covenant between a man, a woman, and God.  Marriage, if we are truly called to it, is where we come to know and understand God better and where we find our path to holiness.  It is not easy, it requires sacrifice and cooperation and lots and lots of prayer- but it is a beautiful vocation.  One that provides the necessary basis of the family and that provides us the graces we need to raise strong families.  

            There was a time in my life that I pictured marriage as a blissful relationship of love and support, intimacy and empathy, that would flow naturally from my husband and me, and would fulfill our every need and want.  

It is not really like that at all.  

Instead, marriage is about compromising and learning to make amends and being merciful.  Tim and I spend most of our time together dealing with our high maintenance house and our higher maintenance kids and our tight budget and trying to manage our different personalities and ideas.  It is not always fun and not always satisfying and not always easy, but it is a blessing and it is worth the effort, because it is the life God has called us to.  And, though I sometimes find myself wondering if maybe a cloistered life in a quiet convent would not have been so bad, I do not really regret answering God's call in my life for even a minute.

1 comment:

  1. I remember that retreat! As I recall, the Sister spoke of a call to holiness in her signature yellow & black ("bumblebee")overalls. What a great lady!!



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