May 9, 2014

Editorial

Use your vocation in life to build up the kingdom of God

Look up the word “vocation” in a dictionary and you will see several meanings.

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines it as “a regular occupation, especially one for which a person is particularly suited or qualified,” and also as “an inclination, as if in response to a summons, to undertake a certain kind of work, especially a religious career; a calling.”

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary says a vocation is “a strong desire to spend your life doing a certain kind of work [such as religious work],” or “the work that a person does or should be doing.”

As Catholics, we know our charge in life is not defined in human or secular terms, but by what our faith teaches us.

We learn in the glossary of the Catechism of the Catholic Church about our “vocation,” which is “the calling or destiny we have in this life and hereafter. God has created the human person to love and serve him; the fulfillment of this vocation is eternal happiness (CCC, #1, #358, #1700). Christ calls the faithful to the perfection of holiness (#825). The vocation of the laity consists in seeking the Kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and directing them according to God’s will (#898). Priestly and religious vocations are dedicated to the service of the Church as the universal sacrament of salvation (cf. #873; #931).”

Vocations should be on the minds of the faithful this weekend as we mark the World Day of Prayer for Vocations on May 11. Whether we are priests or religious, married or single, we, by virtue of our baptism, all have a “calling or destiny” in our earthly lives.

In his message for the day, Pope Francis encourages all people of faith to use their vocation to center their life on Christ and build up the kingdom of God.

“The more we unite ourselves to Jesus through prayer, sacred Scripture, the Eucharist, the sacraments celebrated and lived in the Church and in fraternity, the more there will grow in us the joy of cooperating with God in the service of the kingdom of mercy and truth, of justice and peace,” the pope said.

All Christians are called to adore the Lord and allow the seed of his word to grow in their lives and be transformed into service of others, the pope noted.

He added that while God calls each person individually by name, “no vocation is born of itself or lives for itself.”

What is at the heart of every vocation? Love, the pope tells us.

“A vocation is a fruit that ripens in a well-cultivated field of mutual love that becomes mutual service,” the pope said, and that takes place in the context of an authentic Christian community.

“A vocation flows from the heart of God and blossoms in the good soil of faithful people in the experience of fraternal love,” Pope Francis wrote. “Did not Jesus say: ‘By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another’ ” (Jn 13:35).

How are we, as a local Church family, doing in living out our vocational call?

Many of us bring that mission to our workplace, at home and in other areas of our life each day.

We also only need look at the ministries offered at any Catholic Charities’ agency in the archdiocese, the outreach provided by our parishes and the countless other organizations that assist our brothers and sisters in need to see how positively we are responding to others—with love.

Too often in today’s world, we are told by others that our faith is a private affair and should be kept to ourselves.

Thankfully, most Catholics are not afraid to bring the Gospel mandate of seeing Jesus in others and being Jesus to others in all they do.

As we have heard so many in our Church say time and time again, we don’t help others because they are Catholic. We help them because we are Catholic.

As we continue on this journey as disciples and witnesses of God’s love, may our vocations always show us building up the Kingdom.

—Mike Krokos

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