To get to Heaven, you have to do something, like answer your Vocation!

fork in the road

On this Memorial Day weekend, we pray for our beloved dead! Let us reflect on the words of Matthew 25:31-46:

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations* will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous* will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’

Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’

And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

We are saved from sin and death by Jesus Christ alone. Jesus Christ won forgiveness of sin by the offering of His humanity on the Cross. Rising again on Easter Sunday, He sent the power of eternal life into the cosmos. All of creation will be raised through Him. But, as the Gospel passage above relates, what we choose to do with our lives matters as well. It is not as if our choices are unimportant. Salvation involves grace, but also our works.

Therefore, we will be judged by God at our death on these two criteria: faith and works. Both faith and works involve choices. How are we making our choices? Are we choosing for the Kingdom, or against it? Our vocation is the fundamental orientation of our life’s journey. Are we choosing the vocation that God has planned for us? Or are we setting our own path? The answer to this question will demonstrate if we have chosen Christ’s way or not.

We live out our vocations as a practical lifestyle. Christian salvation does not hinge only on 1 conversion on 1 day of life. It unfolds throughout one’s life. God’s plan for us is very definite. It is not something that originates from us. It is a gift from God. Just as one might do with the gift of money or land, we are to invest and work on that gift, so it may grow. Otherwise, we end up sitting on our “blessed assurance” – grace with no works. But, according to Matthew 25, if we do this, can we be so sure that the grace will be there when it matters (remember the servant who buried his talent in the field)?

For those of us who call ourselves Christians, could it ever be a conscientious decision to simply not care about God’s plan for our lives? Yet many seem to do just that. What are some reasons why?

-Responding to a vocation means foreclosing other options, which is not a popular thing to choose.
-Skepticism about knowing the will of a spiritual god makes claimed knowledge of a vocational commitment from God seem silly.
-The modern desire to do whatever one feels makes the purity of an absolute life decision seem presumptuous. In other words, it can’t be done.
-The patience, self-sacrifice, and trust necessary to make a vocational commitment scares off many discerners.
-Humility is also an important vocational trait, and that can be in short supply.
-Hesitancy is a problem in making decisions. Jesus called people to make a choice, not deliberate on it endlessly.

If we are hesitant on how to respond to God’s calling and serve our neighbor, then we need to go back to Matthew 25, and rediscover Truth. We need to rediscover Jesus! Jesus has an amazing way of clarifying our confusion, if we give Him a chance. God indeed has a plan for you. He does not want you to wander through a life of purposeless, meaningless choice. God wishes to give you the Kingdom, but first, you must choose it! Our choices matter. We will be judged on them! So, focus on your choices! God’s Word will not lead you astray, as He wishes to lead us all to the Kingdom. Choose faith – choose love – choose your vocation according to God’s plan!

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About erievocations

I am a priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Erie, PA. I am an Assistant Vocations Director, tasked with the promotion of seminary recruitment. My blog deals with discernment of vocations, especially to the priesthood, as well as our universal call to be holy.
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