Last week in my series of posts on Lumen Fidei I focussed on paragraph 13, which describes the labyrinth of idolatry we fall into when we lack faith in Christ. We follow this thing for a little and then that thing, and we get nowhere. The solution was to let the light of faith in, and follow Christ: not to wander aimlessly, but to journey in a particular direction, toward a particular goal.
But what does that journey look like? It clearly isn’t a physical journey; Benedictine, Carmelites, and Cistercians can follow it while never travelling anywhere at all.
The end of paragraph 13 gives the key:
Faith, tied as it is to conversion, is the opposite of idolatry; it breaks with idols to turn tot he living God in a personal encounter. Believing means entrusting oneself to a merciful love which always accepts and pardons, which sustains and directs our lives, and which shows its power by its ability to make straight the crooked lines of our history. Faith consists in the willingness to let ourselves be constantly transformed and renewed by God’s call.
(My emphasis.) In short, it isn’t so much following Christ on a path; it’s putting Christ in charge of directing my future growth, trust that he will so guide me that I will grow into the full figure of what I should be. And how do I put Christ in charge of my future growth? By following “God’s call.”
We, every one of us, has a vocation, a way of life to which God calls us. My primary vocation is marriage, being a husband and father. We often have secondary vocations as well, as I have been called to be a Lay Dominican.
We hear Jesus’ words to the Rich Young Man, “Go, and sell all you have, and follow me,” and we think, “I could never do that.” But that was Jesus’ call to the Rich Young Man. My task is to discern my calling, my vocation, and then throw myself into it with the same wild and reckless abandon that Jesus asked of the Rich Young Man. If I am a husband, I must put my all into it. If I am a father, I must put my all into it. I must let God take me out of myself so that I can be transformed and renewed and become what he wants me to be, and that will happen most in service to my family.
Of course we have seasons in life, and vocations can change over time. We need to be alert to that as well.
(Fair disclosure: I’m preaching to myself here, as much as to anyone else.)