What does it mean to be called by God? The question is particularly important for those who are still discerning their vocation, as well as for all of us in vows, who are called by the Rule to daily conversion. The salient points of the catechesis are something like this:
- God acts with total freedom and in deep mystery when he calls. He uses surprise means in his own place and time. And he always anticipates us in his mercy.
- God intervenes with power and majesty within the extreme ordinariness of our lives.
- The call is always puzzling; it defeats human logic.
- The call always brings fire into our lives and person: it is at the same time enthralling and painful because such is the nature of transformation. It makes us better, though it can feel as if it is destroying us.
- The call stretches our private persons, so that a life previously led only for self and family now becomes ecclesial: we must now live for all those God loves.
- The call requires attentiveness in listening, and the willingness to comply.
- The calls at once thrills and humbles one: it awakens a sense of one’s inadequacy.
- Everything occurs by the power of God’s presence and continual guidance: “I will be with you!”
- The first results of an authentic call, once accepted, are: freedom from any slavery and the ability and desire to worship the living God. Liberation always leads to grateful adoration.
- Finally, like a river leads to the ocean, the call leads to constant immersion in prayer, to unceasing dialogue with the Father, as we see Jesus do with the Father.
The chief characteristic of the dialogue is that the disciple, like his Lord, is childlike in the sense that he is an in-fans, that is, a little one who “lacks any little word of his own” (Greek nepios). Every word that Jesus speaks reveals the Father, because Jesus is the incarnate Word of the Father. In his prayer, we see him receiving his very being from the Father and returning it to the Father in praise and thanksgiving.
Photograph by Brother Emmanuel. Reflection by Father Simeon.