Vocation is not something abstract but rather something concrete. It is the answer to a call of what God wants us to be. It is not a road free from obstacles, but rather a dynamic path that keeps us alive and makes us discover the hope that inhabits us and makes us capable of moving forward.
Discerning and discovering one’s vocation requires taking concrete steps. It makes us keep moving and remaining faithful in the hope and in the love of God as He makes Himself the way for us. The grace of vocation leads us to look at life in a different way. It dares us to live a special and unique way in an experience of holding hands with the Lord of all hope. To embark on the adventure of discernment of vocation is to open up to a range of possible paths. It is not a matter of turning a blind eye to certain paths, so as to opt or decide for one. On the contrary, it is allowing oneself to look at the various possible paths in general and at each specific one.
This looking strengthens the discovery of the richness of each vocation and allows a clearer and more objective discernment. In fact, looking at the possible ways, putting defects in some and virtues in others, is to deny the beauty and gift that God offers to each one and the possibility of respecting and appreciating the richness and the gift in those who have already done an option, and are doing it each day.
Looking at the diversity of paths is, therefore, the basis for a discernment of the will of God, that is, the basis for discovering the gift, the beauty and the happiness that God reserves for each person.
Discernment is not a static moment; on the contrary, it is something dynamic that accompanies us throughout our lives. As we look at the possible ways by confronting them with what we are and what we want to be, the journey begins. The path which will make us happy is the one God has reserved for us. Nothing is mathematical or automatic when it comes to life choices.
So opting for a path is something that imposes itself on us, so that we can fulfil ourselves as persons; but it is also something that requires care and accompaniment. This option for a path cannot be understood as fatalism or as a “loss” of possibilities. On the contrary, this option must be made in the certainty that we are not alone, that we will not “lose possibilities or opportunities”, but that this option will offer us a sea of new possibilities and opportunities that will fulfil us.
Opting for a path is not synonymous with choosing the easiest one. To say “Yes” to God’s call is to say “Yes” to a happiness that is neither experienced nor accomplished without effort. However, since God is present in our choice, He gives us the strength of perseverance, insofar as we remain united with Him.
After looking at the different paths and choosing one, one must dare to take the necessary steps to tread on, without losing sight of the goal which we propose ourselves. Setting out on the way is to do something concrete so that the vocation is fulfilled.
It’s not about taking big steps, but about walking. The time to “contemplate” the path we want to take has to lead us to take concrete steps, a dynamic attitude characteristic of a pilgrim who is gradually discovering the path that leads towards the goal that he or she intends to reach.
One cannot have the illusion that the path is linear and continuous. Like the beat of the heart, the path of vocation is made of ups and downs, deviations and reversals. All of these are human and part of a journey that is greater than ourselves.
God walks with us, both when we walk and when we get lost. He is our hope to respond with joy to the gift of love that He offers us.
God is our hope when we set out to tread a path, recognizing our smallness and fragility in the face of it. It is important to see this path as a gift offered by God and, in this sense, something greater than ourselves, something that brings us to full personal fulfilment with God and with our brothers and sisters. (Susana Vilas Boas)