Thoughts for December 20 from Fr Willie Doyle

There is no rule for vocations, no age-limit for the call. Innocence attracts the gaze of God, deep-rooted habits of sin, provided they are not persevered in, do not always repel Him. One comes because the world disgusts him, another loves it and leaves it with regret; docility draws down more graces, while resistance often increases the force of the invitation. The little child hears God’s whisperings, while others have not been summoned till years were far advanced.

COMMENT: We are all called to some form of vocation, whether that be the religious life, marriage or even to be perpetually single and without vows. And there are also “vocations”, or callings, within these vocations. One priest might be called to serve his parish with fidelity and simplicity; another might be called to a ministry in the media or to found a spiritual association. And are also different callings and spiritual paths that can be followed within the vocation to marriage. To a great extent, our sanctity depends on our perseverance and adherence to the call God makes to us.

In today’s quote, Fr Doyle is specifically referring to a religious vocation. He was a well known and effective promoter of religious vocations; some of his writings on the vocation to the priesthood and the religious life can be found by clicking on the link to Fr Doyle’s writings on the top of the page.

Jesus has given all to us – our life, our health, our family and friends, our immortal soul. He gives us everything. We owe everything to Him. Giving our entire life to Him in whatever way He asks for it, is really too small a gift to repay everything we have received. Of course, it’s one thing to say that, and it’s another thing to live it, day after day, especially when the initial enthusiasm wears off, as it almost always does. Therein lies the heroism and sanctity to which we are called. Those who fully embrace their vocation always report that it is a source of great joy and happiness for them in this life and it is also surely a source of merit and consolation in the next life.

As we prepare for Christmas it is worth remembering that this great feast contains important lessons about docility in responding to our vocation. The call to be the Mother of God, and the foster father of Jesus, was not easy for Mary or for Joseph. Yet in both of them we see a great openness to what God asks – Mary says Yes to the angel and insists that she is the “handmaid of the Lord”. Joseph, for his part, was also completely docile and prompt in responding to his vocation – taking Mary as his spouse despite his initial misgivings about her pregnancy and also taking the holy family into exile in Egypt in order to protect the infant saviour.

If we have already found our vocation, we have to pray for the strength to pray for perseverance and fidelity to our calling, and we should also pray for those still trying to discern. If we are still uncommitted in life and have not yet found our path, we should remain open to the Lord’s call, and pray for the courage to follow it wherever it takes us. 

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