Presence of God – Grant, O Lord, that I may accept with a humble and generous heart the honor of Your call.
In a general sense, any invitation of God to the soul may be called a “vocation”; thus we speak of a “vocation to the Christian life.” “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” exclaims St. Paul, “who chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and unspotted in His sight, in charity; who hath predestined us unto the adoption of children through Jesus Christ unto Himself …” (Ephesians 1:3-5). How exalted is the Christian vocation, a vocation for which we can never adequately thank God, and to which we can never fully correspond. Within this universal vocation which is proper to all Christians, there are more specific calls to the various states in life—to matrimony, and to the single and religious states; thus the term “vocation” is often used restrictively. A person is said to have a vocation when he is called by God to that higher state of life indicated by the counsels and implying a special relationship with God which sets him apart as one “consecrated,” that is, reserved for God alone. This is precisely why God asks these souls to renounce that life in which individuals contract bonds which establish a close union between them, and a mutual belonging to one another. Instead of binding itself to another creature, a consecrated soul binds itself to God by the pure bond of perfect chastity. It therefore belongs neither to itself nor to creatures, but only to God. This total belonging to God is the characteristic mark of a consecrated soul, whether it is sealed by sacramental charismatic consecration to the priesthood, by religious profession, or by a private vow of perfect chastity. It is not only its characteristic mark, but also its glory and the profound reason for its dignity, for just as God is superior to His creatures, so the honor of belonging to Him alone far surpasses that of belonging to a creature.
“O infinite Goodness, You chose us to be Your creatures even before You gave us being; therefore, You could well say, ‘You have not chosen Me, for since you are nothing, you had no power to choose, but I have chosen you.’
“You chose to make us Your creatures and to create us to Your own image and likeness, moved by Your goodness alone. You chose us again at our Baptism, and made us Your children, while we, born in sin, could never have hoped to be Your children if You had not chosen us.
“Still moved by Your infinite bounty alone, O my God, You chose me and so many others to be consecrated wholly to You, choosing us in so many, many ways, by Your interior inspirations and by other means. You chose us especially to enable us to raise ourselves up to You, so that You could make us know Your Being and permit us to share Your Life.
“Oh, the grandeur of a creature who has been chosen by You! To what a sublime state it has been raised, and how abject it becomes when it falls into sin, instead of corresponding with Your choice!
“O my dear Spouse, I ask this grace of You always: grant that all chosen souls may receive perfect light and knowledge of their state, so that they may gladly renounce themselves and devote themselves to Your service.
“O Lord, how necessary this prayer is! How necessary it is for You to grant us this grace, that Your chosen ones may serve You perfectly!” (St. Mary Magdalen dei Pazzi).
“I come to You, O most loving Jesus, whom I have loved, sought, and always desired. I come because of Your sweetness, Your pity, Your charity. I come with all my heart, all my soul, all my strength. I follow You because You have called me. Do not reject me, but treat me with forbearance, in accordance with Your great mercy” (St. Gertrude).
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Art for this post on vocation: Ecstacy of St Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, attributed to Alessandro Rosi, circa 1670, PD-US author’s term of life plus 100 years or less, Wikimedia Common. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material.