Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Vocation Homily: "Breaking Out of the Familiar and Dreaming the Dream of God."

This past weekend I had the opportunity to preach and preside at the Sunday Masses for St. James the Greater Parish in Charlestown, West Virginia. To my mind, the readings for the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time lent themselves to a reflection on the theme of vocation in general and a vocation to religious life and Priesthood in particular. The reading from the book of the prophet Jeremiah has God declaring that "before I formed you in the womb I knew you." This suggests that Jeremiah (and all persons by extension) are known in the bosom of God's creative imagination and heart long before they begin gestating in the womb. If we allow our imaginations to mull over such a prospect, it suggests that God, in a sense, "dreams" us into being and has a dream for our lives. Note carefully that a "dream" is much different than a "blueprint." Some Christians might believe that God has in mind all the things that God would like for us to do down to the minutest detail. The problem is that such a notion doesn't gel well with the idea that humans are endowed with freedom. On the contrary, when God "dreams" our lives into being, God, in a sense, "infuses" our being with creative potential and than partners with us in creatively "unlocking" this potential to live as fruitfully as possible for the world, others, and ourselves. Very basically, when persons strive to "unlock" their potential so as to serve others and God, this is what is meant by "vocation."

God's call and dream for all persons is that they share in the "something greater" of God's plan for their lives and for the world. This implies opening ourselves more and more to the dream that God has for the world and "breaking out" of the often times constraining, familiar, and limiting vision of what society thinks constitutes "greatness." A contemporary example of someone who recently "broke out" of the limiting vision of society in order to share in the dream of God is a young man named Grant Desme. Last week Yahoo! news announced that Grant set aside a potential future as a Major League Baseball player to pursue the Catholic Priesthood (http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/blog/big_league_stew/post/A-s-prospect-leaving-baseball-for-call-of-the-pr?urn=mlb,215238). In his own words, he felt called to "something more." Is God calling you or someone you know in a similar way? Pat, TOR