Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Love as Vocation

Vocation is an interesting topic. Much is often said about it in Catholic circles, especially for those of "religious" vocations, as though there only some specific religious vocation. Hardly is this the case, but it is quibble of the language to be sure.

Or is it only a failure of the language? Is it only an oddity of the English language as the word is? Is it shackled to conceptions that might be ill-formed or, perhaps, only under-formed? Could it be a lack of blossom in the modern conception of the word of "vocation?" Perhaps.

Vocationally, at least within some very reverent and holy groups of Catholics, the idea of the priesthood as the singular "holy" vocation—that is to say, in a way, religious—has historically been the priesthood or consecrated vocations. However, this might as well be a slighted perspective. Not always has this view been the case, but it has prevailed more often than perhaps is necessary. It belabors the earthly joys that the particular vocations offer up in one way or another. However, all authentic vocations do just this besides, in large or small ways, throughout the history of the Church. As it ought to be in the first case.

Nevertheless, we do hear prayers for the religious vocations to flourish. That those with these internal callings to be supported and rightly so. It is necessary, it is needed, and it is helpful. However, it could be say it is also a hindrance to the larger perspective.

How can we raise society merely from these—pardon the evocative language—"miracle cases?" Where are the ordinary cases of holiness? There lies the basis for each authentic vocation lived out as a testament to the Gospel preached. It is the Gospel preached without words but with actions.

God does work miracles, everyday miracles, and ones of intense conversions. Rightly and beautifully so, He does. However, He also works the smaller miracles, the ordinary miracles as well day in and day out within the Domestic Church. Building the Family into the Holy Family, in parcels or parts, raises the watermark for all subsequent actions. The holiness—the set-apart reality of grace—flows from this consecration of the ordinary, as Blessed John Paul the Great taught with his call for a "universal call to holiness" born out of the Second Vatican Council and one of its Apostolic Constitution, Lumen Gentium, as well as John Paul II's Apostolic Letter "Novo Millennio Ineunte" and his Apostolic Exhortation "Familiaris Consortio."

Certainly each vocation builds upon and supports the others, but it takes an initial spark of the Domestic Church, the "Holy Family," the hidden years of toil and work, to bring foundation for the work of the Vineyard at the summation of each person's vocation.

With regard to one's vocation, the heart should burn for consummation, which is to say: to consume and be consumed and yet remain as ever before, constant and unhindered for eternity, a burning bush that remains unburned as zeal presses on in beauty bright. One's vocation shouldn't be the path of least resistance, to the easy way out. It should be the innermost selfless desire wrapped in the greatest good with one's gift set—nothing more, nothing less. It should bear itself through trial and rejection. It should be peerless in its presence, open to questioning, yet receiving no doubt. In the end, the vocation is Love Itself, so in Love should one wait who is discouraged in the Vocation set, in its timing and its wait that Love so gently begets. Come, O Love Divine. Teach us thy ways to peace. Thy name be blessed.

"The Eucharist is the Sacrament of Love; It signifies Love, it produces Love." - St. Thomas Aquinas

It's been such a blessed time to spend so much of it in reflection at the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, which has a re-presentation of the Holy House that Lady Richeldis was instructed by Our Lady to build in model of the Holy House in Nazareth.

There is a great joy to be in the Holy House in Nazareth and contemplate God's inner wisdom, the beauty of Love come down. To be at the prime example of the Domestic Church and thus pray for the whole world.

I was given the view, the quiet peace at the Sunday Mass of the Feast of the Holy Family at Our Lady of Walsingham to see a young family, a young suited man with his wife and their young child who kept smiling through out the High Mass, peering back perhaps at the organist and the choir in the loft. Not a cry or frown came from her. I couldn't help but focus there as the readings went on, as it was the Feast Day of the Holy Family... and I was enthralled with the smile, with the image of them. They were among those who went for a wedding anniversary blessing, which I thought was fitting to the time. The joy and contentment of such an example to reverberate and echo the liveable example of the Holy Family.

It amplified to me such a wonderful reverberation of the following reflection:

"[From the family in Nazareth] we learn silence. If only we could once again appreciate its great value...the silence of Nazareth should teach us how to meditate in peace and quiet, to reflect on the deeply spiritual, and to be open to the voice of God's inner wisdom and the counsel of his true teachers. Nazareth can teach us the value of study and preparation, of meditation, of a well-ordered personal spiritual life, and of silent prayer that is known only to God." Pope Paul VI, 5 January 1964

Let us live these words with joy for the New Year ahead. Deo gratias, Anno Domini 2013!

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