I think any vocation, whether it be a lifelong one like marriage, holy orders, religious life or the single life; or whether it be a job, like labourer, scientist, polititian or garbage collector, is a call to respond to God’s love and therefore, bring it into the world.
With marriage, the couple feels the call to love God through their spouse and potentially have children. With the priesthood, the priest lays down his life, that others may have life – foregoing the ambitions of the world and serving a community. Religious life emphatically states that the person totally lays down his or her life and offers it to God through the service of others or as Benedict states :” What in fact is consecrated life other than a radical imitation of Jesus”.
I love seeing inspiring vocational stories from around the world, because they are truly stories of a response to God’s love and as a result, his love dwells among the people. I saw this story about the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, who seem to be true ‘radical imitators of Jesus’. Apparently, it is in their constitution that they only establish a house in places that are known for their extreme poverty, and should the place that they are in lose that notoriety, then the Friars would leave. It seems that this would avoid a ‘comfortable’ religious life, and thus prevent them from ‘abandoning’ the vocation God has called them to. It seems that they are making a real difference. One of the Brothers sums up their mission:
Brother Shawn O’Connor said the monks’ “primary purpose” was to “take care of the spiritual and material needs of the people, to give them a real sense of hope and a sense of knowledge that God cares for them and loves them.”
Without measuring, it seems that the fruits of their presence are obvious.
So this leads me to think of my own vocation and how we here in NZ respond to God’s call.