Vocation, Holiness and Mission

Nativity of St. John the Baptist
Is 49:1-6, Psalm 139:1-3, 13-15, Acts 13:22-26, Luke 1:57-66, 80

Today is the Birthday of John the Baptist and the Church invites us to reflect on the nature of Christian life – on our Vocation, Holiness and our Mission.

Charles de Foucauld
In 2005 Pope Benedict XVI beatified Charles de Foucauld. Charles was born into wealth and spent much of his youth on empty pursuits. As a young man he entered the famous military academy of Saint Cyr, where he was expelled for smuggling his mistress into the academy (a big no-no). He was later re-admitted, where he graduated, sent to Algeria in the Cavalry and expelled for behavior reasons (public concubinage).

After being expelled from the Military Blessed Charles went back to North Africa and explored for a couple of years, living among the people and making maps and diaries. He was awarded a prestigious medal by the French Geographic Society. Afterwards Charles returned to France. He was listless, bored of life, he had lived life abundantly, but not been fulfilled.

While living in Paris, his cousin encouraged him to speak with a famous confessor at that time, Abbe Huvelin which he did and it led to a conversion in his life. Charles said – “The moment I realized that God existed, I knew I could not do otherwise than to live for him alone.”

Today the Church calls us to reflect on our mission. The Scriptures today reflect the fact that each of us were created for a specific mission, for a specific purpose. In the Church we call that purpose vocation.

What is Vocation?
Every vocation in the Church is at the service of holiness.
John Paul II described 4 ways of discover my own vocation
· Talk about the Word
· Pray with one another
· Participate in the Sacraments – The Mass, Reconciliation, Marriage and Holy Orders
· Seeking the Face of Christ in my Brothers and Sisters (JPII’s Prayer).

The goal of vocation is to grow in Holiness.

After his confession with Abbe Huvelin Charles went on a pilgrimage to the Holy land and ended up being the gardener at a convent of Poor Claire nuns in Nazareth. Charles discovered his own vocation in his service to the nuns, and to the Muslim men who he worked with in the Monastery.

How is Vocation / Holiness manifested in Marriage and Holy Orders?

The holiness of marital love,
the harmony of family life, / parish life
the spirit of faith with which the problems of daily life are confronted,
openness towards others, especially towards the poorest, and
participation in the life of the Christian community

What is Holiness?
Pope John Paul II described Holiness as
· intimacy with God,
· the imitation of Christ, who was poor, chaste and humble;
· the unreserved love for souls and a giving of oneself on their behalf and for their true good;
· the love for the Church which is holy and wants us to be holy, because this is the mission that Christ entrusted to her"

Holiness is to be …transformed into a radiant reflection of the mystery of the Holy Trinity.

There are 3 ways to know that I am living out my Vocation.

· Reflect on your life to see if your decisions are illuminated by the intelligence of faith.
· Learn to know and contemplate Christ's face
· Discover in Him our own authentic identity and the mission that the Lord entrusts to us.

How does Prayer guide Holiness?

Prayer, developed and lived, will help us to be guided by the Spirit of Christ to collaborate in building up the Church in charity. We grow in desire to encounter Christ so that we can be free to be the children of God.

Three Questions about my own call to Holiness.

How is my Faith? Do I know my Faith? Do I examine my Faith (Examination of Conscience).
Do I contemplate (think deeply), allow myself to be in the presence of Him –
In my Spouse?
In the Sacraments (Eucharist / Reconciliation / Marriage / Holy Orders)
In the Body of Christ (My Brothers and Sisters)
What is my Mission? It is a secret mission just for me, and God has given me the secret decoder ring.

The whole world wondered what marvelous things the would be in store at the wonder of the Birth of John the Baptist. In the same way the staff at Saint Cyr’s wondered the life mission was for this young man who entered their academy. It was in his pursuit of his vocation that Charles discovered his mission, his vocation, the path to Holiness that God had called out for him. It was not in great military expeditions, nor in intrepid explorations, but rather in the quiet humble life of living out his life as a priest in the Moroccan desert that he would come face to face with Christ in the local people.

Through his trials of life – his military training, his failures and successes that God prepared him to be a hermit in the desert. In his ordinary life as a gardener in the Holy Land and in North Africa Charles’ life reflected the life of the Trinity. The local Muslims referred to him as Marabout, or, "the holy one." – a testament to the progress that Blessed Charles had made during his life.

Today through the readings God says “I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” – Today we are called to reflect on our vocation, on our mission and to evaluate where we are on the road to Holiness.