June 4, 2014
By Father William Muench
As Catholics, central to our faith is the belief that we have a vocation. Each one of us has been gifted by our God with many exceptional qualities that give us our vocation, our purpose in life, God-given to us to be disciples of the Lord Jesus.
In this way, we believe that God shows us our place – our call – our vacation to bring the Spirit and message of Jesus to our world. For many, this is a call to a religious vocation. This may be a call to be an ordained person, a priest or a deacon; many live out their vocation as a religious Sister or Brother. Yet, we do believe that everyone – including each and every lay person, every man and woman – has a vocation – a call to live well as a baptized disciple of Jesus.
Each lay person and religious has so many unique opportunities to bring Christ to the world – Christ’s love and peace, Christ’s message. This is not a nice thing to do – this is a vocation – a call by our God.
I know that we all are blessed with opportunities to bring the love and peace of Jesus to our part of the world. We do this best – all of us – by bringing Christ’s joy and happiness into the world, by bringing the message of Our Savior to those who need to hear it. This is what it means to live our vocation. Often it may be something rather simple, even ordinary – sometimes it may need something extraordinary.
Let me share with you my recent experience of a lay person living out her vocation. A few weeks ago I was visiting in Albuquerque to attend my great niece’s graduation. I was staying at a bed-and-breakfast right near a golf course called the Inn at Paradise.
Each morning, the proprietor, Natalia, prepared breakfast for us in a lovely open breakfast room. On this particular morning, as I walked into the breakfast room Natalia greeted me with “Good morning, Father.” I didn’t notice that some new guests were at one of the tables having breakfast. Her greeting to me turned their heads.
From the stove, Natalia spoke us expressing how deeply her life was touched by God’s love, how passionately she recognized God’s great love, demonstrated in his sufferings and death. Natalia’s words expressed her deep and passionate love to God. Speaking of the crucifixion of Jesus her love was obvious, almost to tears. Her words were an expression of faith that truly demonstrated her vocation as a disciple of Jesus.
Well, the woman went on. (By the way, my eggs were getting cold.) Her concern now was about the Blessed Eucharist. Her inquiry was that shouldn’t attention should be given more to the Word – why are Catholics so absorbed by the Eucharist. I again began with the Gospels – especially Jesus instructions to his apostles at the Last Supper – “Do this in memory of me.” I suppose I was a bit intellectual in my thoughts concerning my belief in the Blessed Eucharist.
Then from the stove Natalia spoke up – “I would die without the Blessed Eucharist. The Eucharist is my strength and my life. I am so overcome that Jesus wants to come to me in the Blessed Eucharist. I need the Blessed Eucharist.”
As she went on her love of the Eucharist was obvious. Her words transformed that moment. It was a blessed moment. Those simple words of love were all that was needed to demonstrate – especially to this new guest – that the Eucharist did not need a debate, only the loving words of a loving, faith filled disciple who truly knew God and lived out her vocation from the Lord.
I must admit I was truly touched in that experience. I recognized this disciple of Jesus who knew how to bring her love for God and her understanding of the message of Jesus into her world. She was simply wonderful.
I got back to my bacon and eggs.