Sunday, June 8, 2014

Our Beautiful Enlistment in the Catechism

On this Solemnity of Pentecost, this hermit's daily reading includes the following passage from The Catechism of the Catholic Church:

"900 Since, like all the faithful, lay Christians are entrusted by God with the apostolate by virtue of their Baptism and Confirmation, they have the right and duty, individually or grouped in associations, to work so that the divine message of salvation may be known and accepted by all men throughout the earth. This duty is the more pressing when it is only through them that men can hear the Gospel and know Christ. Their activity in ecclesial communities is so necessary that, for the most part, the apostolate of the pastors cannot be fully effective without it."

All the discernment of vocation and accompanying labels that assist us in identifying with certain characteristics, our vocations, can also be a distraction to the great call of all Christians whether or not divided by this or that titled vocation:  priest, religious, consecrated eremitic or virgin, and laity.

We all work together (or should) to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ, to believe in Him, of His love and mercy, of His life, death, and resurrection ensuring our salvation. without all our efforts as Christians, no one part of the Body is as effective, or in some cases functional, without the others.

It is good and wise to remember this fact, even if it is also a blessing to know and be able to label, to identify, our individual, specific callings.  St. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 12:3-13 explains that there are various gifts, services and activities of the Holy Spirit, each given according to God's will and need in utilizing us for His Divine purposes.  

These gifts, services and activities are not just for one vocational grouping or another.  The Holy Spirit is for all, while the individuals' services and activities may vary.  God chooses.  We are to gratefully and graciously accept and obey.

Our necessary activity in ecclesial communities may be active and passive, or may be active or passive.  There are Martha and Mary, and Martha or Mary, opportunities in the Body of Christ.  Each are called to his or her purposes by God, per situation or for most or all of one's earthly life.  

An important consideration is to be in an ecclesial community, as a living, breathing, participative representative of Christ's Body.

Someone called, wondering about being a victim soul, or a mystic, or seeking whatever is the vocation.  It came clear that we can become side-tracked by wondering what we are in specifics than on who we are in general: Christians--followers, servants, lovers of Christ.  Yet we also should recognize and accept our specific vocation/s so as to live out our specific God-calling in life. The reality is, the caller's specific vocation for now is marital and maternal, and this vocation will endure for some time, barring unforeseen, life-altering shifts.

Being given certain or other vocations requires God's will and providence to determine or change life circumstances. 

Example: If married and a parent, for God to give a call to holy orders, religious or consecrated hermit, by God's will and allowance the vocation of marriage would be altered or ended,  parental responsibilities concluded.

Being called to suffer as a victim soul as a life calling requires:  being called by God.  

Example:  The suffering of various childhood ills and abuses and dealing with them in early adulthood are fairly common.  While the person could identify as a situational victim soul and offer the sufferings to God, even make a temporary vow of consecration and offering, the sufferings are temporary; they can be alleviated through forgiveness and wise counsel, ensuring healing.  

Some tried to label the late Robert Lax (friend of the late Thomas Merton) as a hermit because he chose to live in reclusion on the Greek island of Patmos for over three decades.  But Lax refused the title.  He said he was a poet whose choice was to live alone and appreciate solitude.  He did not want to be defined with all that the hermit identification intoned.  God had not called him to the hermit life as vocation, obviously.  Robert Lax would know. 

Knowing our vocation or vocations (there can be more than one in the course of our lives) as well as other identifying labels which do assist us in knowing God's will and having certain aspects defined, helps us live our vocation/s responsibly and with integrity for God and respectful of others.  

All divinely discerned vocations meet God's approval because He calls us to accept and live them.  In Christ and the through the Holy Spirit, and in His Body, the Church, our vocations have Sacramental embodiment and holy empowerment.

It is necessary to ask, listen, and discern His calls.  We do not tell God what is our vocation.  

We do not pick a vocation.  We are given our vocation/s.  And we ought evaluate and assess God's directions as we live out over time, His callings.  

Only in the more visible vocations, do others in general need to know, yet it is all right for other people to know our vocations if it furthers the work of God and His Body.  

God bless His Real Presence in us on Pentecost and always.  Thanks be to the Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, for filling us with His gifts, services and activities!  Praise Him for filling us with His living and fiery Breath!


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