By Billy Beauchesne
We are all called to an ultimate Vocation. Yes, there is an endgame! Vocation with a big V does not refer to your career, your finances, your hobbies, or other categories with which we define our lives. The big V Vocation is our ultimate call to one of the three following categories; religious life, married life, or consecrated single life. In order for us to discover complete fulfillment in life, a desire with which each individual is born, we must open our hearts to God’s whisper.
For all those who have been relentlessly asking, “What is Jesus asking me to do?”, whether you’ve asked once or if this has become a prayer repeated ad nauseum, why not ask Jesus? Believe it or not, somebody already did and it quoted in the Bible!
I stumbled upon this question while reading recently. In chapter two of his book, Be Healed, author Bob Schuchts discusses Jesus as the “Good Teacher.” Schuchts refers to the story of the rich official and Jesus and how the rich official asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life:
Rich Official: Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?
Jesus: Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the
commandment, “You shall not commit adultery…kill…steal…bear false witness; honor your father and your mother.
Rich Official: All of these I have observed from my youth.
Jesus: There is still one thing left for you: sell all that you have…Come, follow me.
Screeching brakes… Excuse me?!?!?! I have to what? Common misconception, this does not literally mean every human in the world needs to give up everything that they have and follow Jesus. If that were the case, vocations would actually cease to exist. No one would have any responsibility, aside from following Jesus. At times, this sounds pretty tempting, but more often than not we find this very concept highly distressing.
Hearing this verse, time and time again made me violently rip my life back into my own hands. I catch myself saying, Okay Jesus I want to follow you, but through much prayer and discernment I feel sincerely called to the Vocation of married life and fatherhood. How could I give up everything? I can’t sell my house, my car, quit my job and just go to church everyday.
Enter into the picture our true Vocation, which is the will of God. Ah-hah! It’s beginning to make more sense now. Jesus, you have called me back to your heart and provided the grace of forgiveness through the sacrament of confession. Through much prayer and discernment, I feel called to married life. You are asking me to “sell all that I have and to come follow you.”
Here’s the beautiful thing. Our big V is our Vocation. As Jesus asked the rich official to follow him, our big V is what God is calling us to follow. In order to follow the will of God, we must be open to his calling to pursue the Vocation to which he calls us. Therefore, without us realizing it, God is preparing us to receive the most magnificent fulfillment that we could ever imagine. When we commit to whatever Vocation we are called, God is asking us to “sell all that we have” that is not God, is not of God, or is not giving fully to our called Vocation.
Ultimately he is calling us to death to self and our own desires. Only through death, can we achieve salvation. Through the blood of Jesus Christ, who died on the Cross, we were purchased eternal salvation. Although this was a one time act, at the time of consecration of the Eucharist, heaven and earth are united to one. Heaven is timeless so the consecration is the real-time crucifixion of Jesus Christ. This actually occurs on the altar during every Catholic Mass. As the priest completes the consecration, we are viewing Jesus Christ as the spikes tear agonizingly through his flesh, crushing the bones as they are driven through. Blood streams down his writhing body. Jesus gives himself, body and blood, for our salvation. If Jesus doesn’t die, we don’t achieve salvation. If Jesus doesn’t die, the will of God will not be complete. In our own Vocation, if we are to follow God, we are to give every last drop of blood that we have. We are called to “sell all that we have” and follow God, through our Vocation.
Vocations are our gateway to heaven. Without a Vocation, we struggle to find our meaning and fulfillment in this world. Just as this rich official, we cannot just give what we want. If we are called to be husbands, wifes, fathers, and mothers, there must be death to every desire for us to be first in our lives. As it says in John 3:30, “He must increase; I must decrease.” If Jesus denied his death on the cross, because it hurt or was uncomfortable, or because he desired the ways of this world more than following the will of God, we would not have a savior. Love is painful, yet fulfilling.
Jesus will never ask us to do anything that he has not done. Notice, in Matthew 26: 39, Jesus prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.” He was human and desired comfort, as we all do. Yet, eternity rested squarely on his shoulders and his free will to submit to the will of God.
Who doesn’t love a good love story, right? Especially undoubtedly the most heroic, passionate, love story ever written!
We are born with a desire for fulfillment. Once we are blessed to discern our call to a Vocation, we mustn’t be lukewarm. We must “sell all that we have” that does not lead us deeper into our Vocation, a complete death to self-desires, in order to fully follow Jesus Christ
So what are we scared of? “What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the holy Spirit* to those who ask him?” (Luke 11: 11-13)