Every year the Christmas season ends with the celebration of our Lord’s Baptism in the Jordan River. Jesus made the waters holy through His Baptism. We can receive new life from this holy water which was blessed by the Lord. For Catholics, Orthodox, and some Protestant Christians, our Baptisms took place in our infancy. Therefore, we do not remember our Baptism. But that makes the event no less important! At our Baptism, we received a special blessing from God. Indeed, it was more than a simple blessing, it was salvation itself. This salvation unfolds throughout our life as a vocation. Each of us has a vocation – whether priest, religious, deacon, married, single. What’s yours?
The word “vocation” comes from the Latin word “vocare” which translated means, “to call”. In the Scriptures, Jesus always gave those whom He saved a calling. For some, Jesus sent them out as missionaries to spread His word. For others, He called them to follow Him. To others, He simply instructed them to go and sin no more. But Jesus never encountered a person and left them in place. He always challenged them to move – to do something! He always called them to be more. Jesus met people where they were at, but He never left them there. He called them to more.
As Jesus was in the Scriptures, so He is today. Jesus’ desire to call us has not changed with the passage of time, or with His Ascension into Heaven. No, Jesus acts in the same manner today, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Each of us has a vocation! Everyone reading this article has a vocation. So, why don’t you find your vocation? Are you confused or afraid? God can work through those feelings if you ask. God will get you over fears and anxieties. The one who is searching for his or her vocation with fear and trembling can find peace if he or she asks for it.
The key is admitting to yourself that you have a vocation. Remember that a vocation is a call to move, to act, to become more in the sight of God. Many would rather have Jesus wave a magic wand of grace over them, and bless their present situation. Many would just seek Jesus’ stamp of approval (or try to earn it on good behavior). Others, utterly and contentedly consumed by worldly affairs, aren’t interested. They might say, “aren’t vocations for the select few, those brave enough to turn their back on the world and embrace the convent, monastery, or rectory?” No. Each Christian – by virtue of their Baptism! – is called. This means that your life is not your own. You need to be open to God’s direction in your life.
Again, many are uninterested in this idea. It is remarkable that vocational awareness has penetrated so shallowly into the lives of many religious people. Should not every Catholic school (especially universities and colleges) make it a high priority to create a culture of vocational awareness? Maybe if there was money in this, it would become a priority. But alas, the rewards of vocations are not monetary or political, they are spiritual and eternal! We certainly can’t run an institution on such values….
Or could we? The answer lies in each of the hearts of the Baptized, when they hear the voice of the Lord, saying, “Come and follow me.” We are in control of our choices. May we choose to be on God’s team? May we choose to make the ritual of Baptism a reality in our own lives.