“Everyone carries in their soul and their cross, to do battle with the storms
Everyone carries their shadows and light, besides the mirrors that they face
And in the brevity of eternity each person chooses their destiny
Right on the threshold where good and evil, cast the pathways to fate”
The Threshold-Tabaré Cardozo
The vocation of Jesus, the call that he makes to us, is for the Kingdom. That is to say, the proposal is that we be faithful to a style of life consistent with the values which God offers for a full life. The Kingdom (reign) of God in the midst of the world implies the Lordship of a God of mercy (heartfelt love) for a universal brotherhood among all living beings, including our own mother earth.
This call is demanding. It is radical. It has no return, that is to say, it cannot be given back. Let us remind ourselves of the biblical texts of both the Old and New Testament which speak of vocation. And let us also recognize that a vocation often involves, pain, sacrifice, renunciation and suffering. Happiness is found by following and has nothing to do with the happiness that is offered in the world. It has nothing to do with riches, securities, restrictive bonds and affectivities, selfishness, preservation, asphyxiation or meanness. And this applies both to individuals and institutions created by these things.
Then, although vocational discernment about whether my call to religious life or to be a layperson is important, it acquires all its potential and truth when we act on it in the light of the most basic demands of the Gospel. The text of Luke 6: 36 “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful” helps us to emphasize what is most essential and, therefore, most radical for the call: the works of mercy for those who are beaten and thrown by the wayside. To stay with that discernment without choosing this basic option for the Kingdom and its values is, to put it bluntly, contrary to the Gospel.
Without a doubt, the way the vocation question is generally raised, it seems that what is important is the ministry and not the vocation itself. The questioning and the interpellation that God makes of us through the life of Jesus is far more radical: to place oneself on the side of the powerful and oppressors of history or on the side of the poor, with the suffering of Yahweh, with the victims of history. This is not just an option of class (as it also is and without doubt it is included); it is above all a fundamental (vocational) option, of a personal type but with profound social implications and, ultimately, also theological. It is finally the option that provides a framework for our deepest spirituality.
In this sense, each time we pray for vocations, we pray for all of us, Christian men and women in the world, for having put our hand to the plow we never look back. Or to look at it another way, we find ourselves with those thrown by the wayside.