Mother Teresa understood well what it means to live a divine vocation. One of the brothers she was working with once told her, “My vocation is to take care of the leprous.” Mother Teresa responded, “You are wrong brother. Your vocation is to belong to Jesus. The job you do will only be a way to express your love to him.”
I have grown more and more convinced that we need to help one another to discern our vocation and to understand what God is doing in our lives. It can be like having spinach in your teeth. Often everybody else can see it but you have no idea it’s there. So too it is with the activity of God in our lives. We may not always see it. We may feel God is far away from us, but how powerful and moving it can be when somebody else tells us how they have witnessed God working in our lives. It strengthens us and encourages us to seek God more.
Especially we need to help the children. There was a girl I knew when she was in kindergarten. She was a very chatty and vivacious girl when I would see her in the hall or in the classroom, but when she would come to Mass she would put on, as I described it, her “church face.” She would be very still and pious, remarkably so for a kindergartener. I remarked to her parents how impressed I was by the innate sense of reverence that came over their daughter when she came to Mass. The parents then became more alert to and awed by how God was moving through their child – and they began to appreciate and nurture the gift.
Pay attention to the children and young people in your lives and all around you. You will notice that some have been gifted by God with a spiritual sense of compassion. Their heart is especially attentive to people who are hurting. Others may have a gift to teach or encourage people. Some, better than other children, may be able to sit for greater lengths of time by themselves in quiet and may have very deep inner lives.
Then, tell them what you see! Let them know that you believe God has specially gifted them in this way! You will see a smile come over their faces. They will be charmed and delighted – and they will start to get in touch with that “deepest thing inside” of them. They will want to know more about what God is doing in their lives.
Encouraging vocations is important for all of us – and it can be inspiring and great fun too. God calls – let’s all watch and listen.