When we think of a calling, we sometimes think it is only for the “religious” types, those ones who never seem to do anything wrong, who were born and bred in the Catholic Church, who speak with ease about religious stuff. And you know, once and a while, it is that person, but God has this disconcerting habit of choosing people who are a bit rough around the edges, who might have a tendency to be wild, rash, passionate, or temperamental. One has only to look at the women and men who constituted his first disciples to see that they were a mix of people each with rough edges and great giftedness. Some weren’t even “religious” but in them Jesus recognized a spirit of dedication, kindness, zeal, compassion, perseverance — and other such gifts that were perfectly suited for being a disciple.
So what if you have a tattoo or forget the words to the Act of Contrition (my biggest fear when walking into a confessional) or are not a virgin or enjoy falling in love or want to become a rocket scientist? Think that’s incompatible with being called? Not a chance.
There is no one who is beyond God’s call and in fact every one of us does have a calling. There are lifelong callings like to be in a relationship, to be a parent, to be a missionary, to be a religious sister or brother, to be a lifelong educator. And there are callings to a kind of ministry or service such as healing, teaching, advocating, learning, praying, companioning, protecting, or encouraging. We might experience many of the latter in our lives and within our “umbrella” lifelong calling. For example, my lifelong calling is to be a religious sister, specifically to be an Immaculate Heart of Mary Sister. But within this lifelong calling, I also am called to serve in a particular way using technology and the Internet and theology and spirituality. I am also called to a particular kind of lifestyle that is sensitive to all of God’s creation.
So think about how you are called — how you are living this calling right now even if you might never have thought about it as a calling? And for those of you who thought you were “beyond help” for becoming a nun or a deacon or a monk or religious sister or a priest or a consecrated virgin … what’s blocking you?