December 30, 2011

The Word of God and Our Vocation

Continuing with the last section of part two of Verbum Domini, "The Word of God in the Life of the Church", the Holy Father next addresses vocations. The Word of God "calls each one of us personally, revealing that life itself is a vocation from God," he reiterates from the Synod. "In other words, the more we grow in our personal relationship with the Lord Jesus, the more we realize that he is calling us to holiness in and through the definitive choices by which we respond to his love in our lives..."

At the end of each episode of Catholic Answers Live, host Patrick Coffin signs off with "Be a saint! What else is there?" That is exactly right - there is one "universal call" and it is not a new teaching from the Second Vatican Council. It appears in the Old Testament (Lev 11:44, 19:2, 20:7) and in the New (Eph 1:4, Rom 1:7). Saint Paul's opening in his letter to the Romans is quite like Patrick's sign-off (fortunately, Paul never trademarked it).

How do we answer this universal call to holiness? How do we become a saint? The Pope details the role of Scripture in that task for each state in life - ordained bishops, priests, and deacons; seminarians; consecrated religious; and single and married laypeople. Whatever our state in life, we have at least one section addressed to us that we should consider carefully.

For laypeople, the Holy Father cites Jesus speaking in St. Matthew's Gospel: "the field is the world, and the good seed are the children of the Kingdom" (Mat 13:38). He applies this especially to laypeople, calling them to "live out their specific vocation to holiness by a life in the Spirit expressed 'in a particular way by their engagement in temporal matters and by their participation in earthly activities'." We are not meant to hide away from the world, to shun anything secular. We are sent into the world, to spread the Gospel and to witness to everyone how a Christian lives. Each person can do that in whatever state of life they have - in how they raise their children, how they date, how they work, how they spend their free time. We don't have to go looking for ways to live a Christian life, as they are right here around us. God has set up the good works for us to do (Eph 2:10); we need to do them.

Christian life, like a good relationship, is not all grand gestures; it is lived in the little things, day to day.

No comments:

Post a Comment