Vocation is always a gift for us and for others, a blessing that makes us walk in the construction of a more inclusive and fraternal world.
Everyday life is marked by pressures, enticements, opinions, and so many things that seem to converge to deafen us from our own will and silence us from what we are. Without realizing it, we are overwhelmed by the wills of others who insist on wanting to define our priorities in life.
At any given moment, it seems to matter little what we are and what we long to be, what we dream of, and what fulfills us. After all, when we try to discern our vocation, it always seems that others know what is best for us better than we do.
In this tangle, we often succumb to the pressure and make our dreams and our own life disposable. It’s easier to go with the wind, not to fight for anything. But… are we condemned to discard that which most fulfills and humanizes us?
Vocation does not take pleasure in easiness: love is always demanding, and so it is impossible to live it if one chooses to act only according to the opinion of others.
To discern one’s vocation is to dare to take steps, not to be dragged along by the enticing promise of easy and instant happiness; it is to find companions on the road who have the courage to fight with us and to help us see beyond the fog of smoke that society so often imposes on us-companions who dare to tell us when we are wrong and who, with sincerity, show us the challenges of living our vocation to the full.
These will also be the ones who will help us stand up to the pressures and opinions that seek to become imperatives in our lives.
Vocation is always a gift for us and for others. To deny the experience of vocation is not only to close the doors to who we are, but it is also to deny ourselves to be a gift for the reality that surrounds us.
The noticeable snowball effect of decisions happens no matter how big or small the decision is. It is important to keep in mind that each one of us is an active agent in shaping society, culture, and the reality that we live in.
To fight against the current of easiness is to dare to contribute productively and beneficially to the world. There are no vocations that can combine humanism with discrimination, or that can articulate the common good with human discarding.
A vocation is always a blessing and, in this sense, we are all to “tend to the needs of individuals and peoples. To tend those in need takes strength and tenderness, effort and generosity in the midst of a functionalistic and privatized mindset that inexorably leads to a ‘throw-away culture. It involves taking responsibility for the present with its situations of utter marginalization and anguish, and being capable of bestowing dignity upon it” (Fratelli Tutti, n. 188).
Vocation is always dignifying and keeps in mind the wounded realities of our society. Because our humanity is the basis of vocational fulfillment, nothing that is human and humanizing can be discarded when one seeks to live life authentically.
We must not forget that living through what is generally acceptable and promoted often leads to injustice-generalizations are always unjust. No one should, therefore, be content with a “globally satisfying” life!
Rather, steps must be taken toward a “concretely happy” life. It is in our concrete existence that we realize ourselves and a fruitful and life-giving reality–a reality where people are not disposable and where life happens for the good of all.
Fraternity is the basis of an authentic vocational experience. As the old saying goes, unity is strength! How, then, can we believe that we can open paths and discover the truth of who we are and God’s plans for us alone?
Is it not presumptuous of us to think that we can walk through social pressures and cultural habits with total confidence alone? What are we doing to concretely be guided and accompanied in our vocational discernment? A vocation is sustainable because each person’s humanity is taken into account, integrating their vocation with the relationships that they form.
Human sustainability is the basis for recognizing everything according to its dignity, leaving little room for chance and not ignoring the marginalized. In our vocation, only options and choices are made, not damages.
Freedom is always fraternal. Otherwise, it becomes a libertine dictatorship where only the individualistic “I” has a place, leading to the mutilation of the relational character proper to the human being and, consequently, to the discarding of his own humanity.
The “personal” (and not individualistic) “I” of the human being opens doors to an authentic experience, on a path where the person is realized without having to step on, trample on, and/or discard anyone. This is not an easy task to do, especially when one is alone.
To be accompanied by people with a similar vocation to ours is to surround ourselves with a light that will make the path more evident. Furthermore, it means choosing companions on the journey who, having already travelled a path similar to ours, know how to overcome the obstacles and adverse circumstances that may arise.
The gift of God that is vocation does not remain hidden from human knowledge. God reveals the gift as we seek to discover it. This is always done through mediations, hence the need for a discernment where fraternity is present.
Pope Francis looks at the meaning of vocation and its fraternal dimension in a very human way, taking Mary as a privileged example since she faithfully lived her vocation without discarding the principle of a fraternity or trying to follow an isolated path.
In fact, Mary “received at the Cross the universal maternity (cf. John 19:26) and she cares not only for Jesus but also for ‘the rest of his offspring’ (Revelation 12:17). With the power of the Risen One, she wants to give birth to a new world, where we are all brothers and sisters, where there is room for all the discarded of our societies, where justice and peace shine forth” (Fratelli Tutti, n. 278).
Imbued with Mary’s example, we discover the paths that anyone who seeks to live an authentic life must travel. However, looking at good examples is not enough. We have to get on the path and walk!
Today, we will need help to walk safely without getting discouraged. Tomorrow, we will be called to continue walking hand-in-hand with those who accompany us and to give a hand to others who are beginning their discernment process. This is a human chain of fraternity that not only helps us on our way, but above all, that gives us the means to welcome God’s gift- vocation. (Susana Vilas Boas)