Last Updated: Tuesday - 01/04/2011
February 12, 2001
Jesus gives the power to say 'yes'
A vocation is possible when God gives help
FR. SYLVAIN CASAVANTRecently I was at the bedside of a woman who was dying of cancer. I had been called in to administer the Sacrament of the Sick.
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Her whole family was present. Other than the prayers that I prayed, there was silence - almost overwhelming silence. All who were there thought the same thing, "It is almost over."
In the midst of this statement, I pose the question, "What is almost over?" One cannot doubt that physical life is ending but not one's relationship with the person that is nearing the end of earthly existence.
This is the whole reason for Christ's coming upon the earth. He has broken down the one barrier that prevented us from existing eternally in love with God and with others. He has destroyed the barrier we call death.
"God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life"(John 3:16).
This life is one that we are privileged to share with God in a relationship that roots itself in love. This is what we are talking about when the word "vocation" is expressed.
Your vocation is a gift from God. It is how God has chosen to live in a love relationship with you. God loves you. He would do anything to express this love to you but this love must be received.
Jesus shows us the depth of his Father's infinite love and then calls us to respond to him. We are given a choice - to love as we have been loved or to walk away. Simple, yet so many people falter.
Our difficulties in accepting the gift of vocations revolve around a misunderstanding of commitment. When we think of giving ourselves to God, we believe that we must do so through our own effort. If Jesus gave his life for us, we must be willing to give our lives just as radically.
With this attitude, we shy away quickly from God because the task of absolute self-abandonment seems too daunting. I cannot do what Christ did. Herein lies the dilemma.
Jesus is the solution to this dilemma. God has never told us that we must abandon ourselves to him without him. When someone makes a commitment to one of the vocations (marriage, religious life, priesthood or the single life), that person is not saying that they can do this on their own.
Rather, they realize that their efforts will only be perfected through the greater effort of Jesus working to purify their choice for him. We commit to enter this relationship with God through the continual guidance of the Holy Spirit and it is this Spirit that reinforces an individual's commitment.
To make a commitment to Jesus means that Jesus will be the source of that commitment. For Jesus nothing is small, the moment we give it to him, it becomes infinite. If you fear to give Christ everything, know that he will give you the love necessary to do this in time.
I encourage anyone who may be praying about his or her vocation to remain filled with hope. The commitment for Christ is not an impossible one to make because it is never done without Jesus. Let Jesus give you the conviction and consolation of saying "yes" to God.
(Fr. Sylvain Casavant is vocations director for the Edmonton Archdiocese.)
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