Day 30 - But What if My Vocation Makes Me...Different?!

Welcome to our Lenten series "40 Days for Vocations." Today we're going to talk about how you're vocation may make you feel "different."

(If my Blogger stats are correct, not all of my readers are from North America/the United States. So, some of what I'm talking about from a cultural perspective may not make much sense. Nonetheless, I'm going to address this from an American perspective, since that is what I know best.)

I think that it's important to except, at the outset, that if you are going to live out a faithful vocation in this culture we're living in - you're going to stick out like a sore thumb. Perhaps a very beautiful sore thumb, but a sore thumb regardless. People who aren't where you are are just going to be a bit baffled by you.

Although American culture did start out Christian (it's arguable to what degree we can say it is anymore, or if we are now in the "post-Christian" era in our country), the Christianity it espoused was more Protestant in flavor. From the beginning, a lot of people were baffled by the ways of Catholics, and - throughout American history - persecuted Catholics in one way or another. Even in our current day, we see the battle that various Church charities, schools, and organizations have had to take on in light of the HHS mandate. Faithful Catholics are, by nature, called to be "in the world, not of it" and that means that sometimes we flat-out oppose it.

This carries over into the world of vocation. 

Let's consider the three main vocations in the Church - religious (or consecrated celibate) life, priesthood, and marriage. All require lifelong commitments. All require chastity. Two out of the three even require celibacy (which is totally foreign to secular ears). All three require a degree of faithfulness, even and especially in the midst of hardship. All three require tremendous sacrifice, and willingness to face suffering and discomfort.

But what does out modern world preach? Comfort! Content! Happiness! If you aren't happy, move on to someone or something else! Don't tie yourself down! Your impulses are good...don't stifle them!

Basically, the world's view of happiness is in direct opposition to the happiness and joy the Gospel promises. "Take up your cross." "Deny yourself." "Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies..." So, yes, if you choose to faithfully live out your vocation, you are going to appear odd. what?! 

I think that it's helpful to keep in mind that Jesus warned us that this would be the case. He warned us that the world would not understand us, but that He did not make us for this world. The world did not, does not, understand Him.

So, in the end, we just need to own it. We need to own that our vocations will make us different, set apart. And we need to accept that that's okay! It's okay to be different, to be a bit of a puzzle, if we are choosing to be so for the right reason. 

Most importantly, there typically is something attractive about those differences. Who knows who we may attract to the faith by our willingness to stand out?!

Please continue to pray for vocations with us!

O God, Father of all Mercies,
Provider of a bountiful Harvest,
send Your Graces upon those
You have called to gather the fruits of Your labor;
preserve and strengthen them in their lifelong service of you.

Open the hearts of Your children
that they may discern Your Holy Will;
inspire in them a love and desire to surrender themselves
to serving others in the name of Your son, Jesus Christ.

Teach all Your faithful to follow their respective paths in life
guided by Your Divine Word and Truth.
Through the intercession of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary,
all the Angels, and Saints, humbly hear our prayers
and grant Your Church's needs, through Christ, our Lord. Amen. (source)


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