In one of my last posts, I wrote about how holiness is not doing anything, it is ‘letting it be done unto you,’ that is, being loved by God. You can read that here, but the short version (in two sentences) is this; striving to be holy is nothing more than how we respond to God’s gifts of love to us. Our lives are a gift from God, how we choose to live it is our gift back to Him.
“Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is
incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless if love is not
revealed to him if he does not encounter love, if he does not
experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate
intimately in it.” -John Paul II
God recently sat me down and reminded me how far I’ve come since my birth. I thanked Him for great memories, friends, experiences and realized His hand in everything. He has not given me a reason not to trust Him, it’s myself I don’t trust.
So, I took what I have been through, what I desire to achieve, the efforts I made, and knowing who I want to be and laid it all out. The past: it never goes away and now it’s up to me to let it purify me. The present: who I am striving to be in Jesus just gets molded more and more each day. The future: in God’s hands. Every breath is a constant discernment of the way I choose to use my passions, desires, talents, ideas, identity, and intellect to experience the greatest love. Namely, a deeper love with Christ.
Of course vocations come into play. Vocations are nothing more than a vowed marriage (human or divine), vowed promises to lay down life in a radical way in order experience “The Greatest Love” in acts of total surrender, sacrifice, and charity. For me, after pleading with God for two years to reveal my vocation, going on an emotional roller-coaster of experiences to cultivate that, praying novenas, writing one-thousand notes to my future husband, opening doors to religious life, I was tired! God sat me down to contemplate ALL. Not the last six months, not the last year, not the last four years in college, everything. It was so considerate of Him to sit me down to contemplate my life instead of just seeking some billboard sign on the highway that would tell me my vocation. There is logic to this.
Who I am, what I’ve been through, my weaknesses and strengths, and what I long for are going to impact how I live my life, how I live my vocation. There is nothing to fear in this, only freedom to gain.
Here’s a story to help explain: My friend recently shared with me a personal story she had. She, in a panic, approached a sister and said, “Sister, I’m scared I missed my call to religious life. I’ve dated my whole life, and dating has been one of the experiences that I know Jesus and feel His love. Is there a chance I missed His call all these years?”
Ironically, I had almost the same conversation two months ago… In a panic, I asked a sister:
“Sister, I’m scared I missed my call to date. I haven’t really dated my whole life, just tiny encounters, and since dating is one of those experiences I can have to lead me closer to Jesus, am I crazy to think I don’t need to date to discern a religious vocation?”
What both sisters answered with was practically the same. Each said firstly that the state of the relationship is going to determine the answer. For me, Sister said if I meet a guy, and my heart skips a beat, then I should try it out and seek what’s in store with it. For my friend, she mentioned how great her relationship is and doesn’t want it to end.
Nothing to fear! Phew!
But, as for our little “fear of missing out” on something, that is what each of us need to take to prayer. Our Jesus will be more than willing to help us understand if we simply offer our understanding. That said, these are the crucial experiences of our past to consider if God ever asks you too to sit down and contemplate your life. It is best said like this,
“there is one big thing we can do with God’s help, that is, we can trust God’s plan putting aside any bitterness about ourselves and what we are. We can accept and seize upon the fact that what we are at this moment is planned to be like that. Whatever we are gives form to the emptiness in us which can only be filled by God and which God is even now wanting to fill.”
So again, let God fill you, love on you, and do nothing more than receive that great gift. Don’t try to force yourself into love, but let love be gifted to you. Only God can say what his spirit plans to uproot and lead you towards, so let Him lead you and in doing that pray for the grace to receive it. Accept and embrace every feeling, prompting, every momentary affliction, and find freedom and trust in the way God chooses to lead you into the ‘incomplete reality that is, the future.
Surrender, surrender, surrender!
My only advice would be to make sure you are spending some serious alone time with our Lord to uncover the depths of your heart. Practically speaking, take a break from dating if need be, stop entertaining potential mates, read theology of the body, or even going on retreat.
We, as human persons, are miners constantly mining for that priceless shiny gold called love. The moment when (something or someone) opens your heart, leads you to God in a beautiful way, into a way to gain a sense of self, direction, purpose, and fulfillment, do me a favor and rejoice! You, my friend have struck gold!
What jobs, people, and opportunities have lead me to closer to Christ? What moments of the day and what opportunities let me experience God’s love? Who do I know that best exemplifies the Father’s benevolent love?
The answers to those questions are foreshadowing the path that leads to your “Heaven on Earth.” Your desires, experiences, and passions are specific to you. It is through them that you make love your own. You can be assured that the moments of life that pierce your heart are God’s way of introducing you to something new about you.
Your vocation is your personal experience with God. When He fills you with His love you start to desire and form a unique way to radiate that love and make it visible to the world. When you remain open to God’s ways, trusting His direction, and His love for you through the trials, the patience he wants you to undergo, and the doors He asks you to open, then you’ll find that through a relationship with Him,
Life has a purpose.
And that purpose is love.
“The man who wishes to understand himself thoroughly and not just in accordance with immediate, partial, often superficial, and even illusory standards and measures of his being, must with his unrest, uncertainty, and even his weakness and sinfulness, with his life and death, draw near to Christ. He must, so to speak, enter into him with all his own self. He must appropriate and assimilate the whole of the reality of the Incarnation and Redemption in order to find himself. If this profound process takes place within him, he then bears fruit not only of adoration of God but also a deep wonder at himself. How precious must man be in the eyes of the Creator, if he “gained so great a Redeemer.” God gave his only Son in order that man should not perish, but have eternal life.”
-JPII Redemptor Hominis