Recognizing God’s call

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

THE story of the vocation of the prophet Samuel is very interesting in the sense that he at first did not realize God was calling him. God had to call him three times, before he realized it was not his earthly master, Eli, who called him, but God himself. Of course, it was Eli who finally told him that it was God, not Eli, who called him. (cfr. 1 Samuel 3,1-10.19-20)

Indeed, everyone has a vocation and it can come to us in some mysterious ways.  God calls all of us to be with him. He invites us to share his life and his work. We are all co-operators of his abiding providence. That’s why we are told that we have to “listen to him.” He always intervenes in our life. We just have to learn how to hear him and work with him.

This is what vocation is all about—living and working with God. Everyone’s vocation has been forged from all eternity, and we too have been wired for that. That’s why we have been created with intelligence and will. We can and should enter into a living relation with God.

Thus, it behooves all of us to develop a sense of vocation in our life. We need to exert the effort to know God and his will more and more by praying, meditating on the gospel and his doctrine, now taught by the Church, fulfilling the usual duties we have which are part of God’s will, etc.

But he can give some special vocation to some people precisely for some special purpose that would be good not only for the persons concerned but also and mainly for the whole Church.

Some are called to be apostles, teachers, priests, religious persons, or just committed laymen who seriously look for personal sanctity and work actively in the apostolate right in the middle of the world. We just have to accept what is given to us, and start appreciating the eternal and supernatural significance of the vocation.

And he can do this in some dramatic way, often involving drastic changes in the recipients. God can enter into our lives and make his will more felt by us in some special way. Though we cannot help it, we should try our best not to be surprised by these possibilities.

Consider St. Paul, St. Augustine, the apostles themselves, and the patriarchs and prophets like Abraham, Moses, Jonas, Jeremiah, etc. Consider St. Edith Stein, and our very own St. Lorenzo Ruiz and St. Pedro Calungsod.

Their stories are full of drama and suspense. St. Paul received his vocation while on a mad campaign to arrest the early Christians. St. Augustine, though gifted intellectually, had a colorful past. The apostles were mainly simple people, mostly fishermen.

St. Edith was an intelligent Jewish agnostic before her conversion. And our own Filipino saints were catechists doing some domestic work for some priests. All had their defects, and sins, and yet they became and are great saints.

We have to feel at home with the idea, nay, the truth that all of us have a vocation. Let’s not play blind and deaf. God’s call is actually quite loud enough. And when we are given a special vocation, let’s not be afraid, but rather go for it at full throttle.

Ok, we may hesitate at first, but if we are honest, we will soon see there’s nothing to be afraid about. God takes care of everything. All he needs is that we trust him, that we have faith in him, and that we try our best to cooperate.