Your life here on earth is for a purpose. The purpose of your life is often what people refer to in religious language as a vocation. However, a vocation is not simply a call that you receive; it is a life that you live. A vocation is not simply a call that comes from outside of you; it is a deep desire planted in the very depth of your being that drives everything that you do; the dynamic energy that drives your daily actions and the choices that you make. The purpose of your life is as close to you as your fingerprint; it is your pulse, your heartbeat, and the goal to which your life is oriented. Your vocation is your life’s mission and the compass that should channel all your energy to their proper end.
In the Igbo language, this will come closer to the word akaraka (who you are and the gifts and treasures that God has given you which no one can take away from you). When you use these treasures and pay attention to that deep well of meaning that gives your existence a narrative; you will attain a distinctive life quality and identity as the plot of your life unfolds in the direction of ultimate human fulfillment and the realization of your life mission here on earth.
So, your vocation is that treasure of inestimable value that you ought to find every day and embrace with all your energy and everything that God has given you.
And your vocation can be discovered if you pay attention to the voice of God within you. St Augustine writes about the closeness of God to each and every one of us: “God is more intimately present to you than your own heart” (En. Ps. 74,9: ‘ille corde tuo interior est’). Augustine captures ‘the call’ this way: “You – God – called and cried out loud (vocasti et clamasti) and shattered my deafness. You were radiant and resplendent, you put to flight my blindness. You were fragrant, and I drew in my breath and now pant after you. I tasted you, and I feel but hunger and thirst for you. You touched me, and I am set on fire to attain the peace which is yours” (Conf. 10,38).
So, your vocation is the purpose and pulse of your life; it is what gives you meaning in life; it is what wakes you up every morning; it is a unique part of God’s dream for the world which God has given to you and you alone; it is that assignment given to you that none other but you will perform on earth as a divine emissary. Your vocation is that divine treasure given to you by God; it is a divine investment, and what you do with that treasure and talent of yours is the return on investment which you will bring before God when your life here on earth is over.
If you are sad today, confused, and worried about the future, search your heart as to whether you are living the purpose of your life or simply fulfilling a role, occupying a position, and playing to the gallery. Position can give you honor, human respect, and even money; but a vocation will unfold in you a life that is rich with values and purpose, happiness, inner fulfillment, and inner peace.
A position may give you a title and rivals who want your position, but a vocation will give you a purpose beyond a position; when you embrace your vocation, you will only have yourself to compete with because you realize your uniqueness and enjoy every day that this mystery of God’s love and mission is unfolding in you. Through embracing your vocation, you will realize your unique place in the heart of God and in the heart of the world that no one can take away from you and the boundless opportunities it offers you to serve others and your God by using your gifts and opportunities. Finding your vocation, that is, the purpose of your life will calm your restless soul.
The greatest tragedy of life is to live with no purpose or to live the life of another or to follow the wrong path. A Vocation is not simply a career or a position that we occupy or a role that we are fulfilling; a vocation is a life that we live, a history that we are making with God, a response that we make to God’s inner summons, and a mission of God that we are sent here to fulfill on behalf of the Master.
So, this weekend, I will ask you to look into your life and prayerfully listen to the voice of God in your heart. Ask yourself if you are happy and fulfilled in this life and what gives you fulfillment; what is the purpose of your life and how are you realizing that purpose.
I invite you to also pay attention to where you are, who you are with, and what is happening inside of you.
Notice the company that Samuel kept (the high priest, Eli) in the First Reading, and the company that the two disciples kept (John the Baptist). Sometimes, the sites and people you interact with—friends, mentors, family, people of faith, decent and wise people—may be the most decisive factor in helping you to find your purpose in life, to see the path clearer, and to find the motivation and opportunities to embrace your path and heed the ‘call’ of the Lord.
Make sure that you are keeping the right company—folks who are positive and encouragers, who will not only say things you like, but people who will challenge you, criticize you, support you, and help you when you fall. But ultimately, surround yourself with people who believe in you and who love you and celebrate you and thus create around you an empowering love and environment that makes all things possible in your life.
Finally, we all must make a commitment to become an Eli or John the Baptist or Andrew—people who bring others to Christ; people who help others to see God; people who help to make the path clearer to others. Be a point of contact for those who are searching for their way to their life’s purpose. Be a door that opens a road to many people, especially those who are searching for opportunities in life, so that they can find their way in life. Become a mentor; become a dream-maker; become a vocation-saver and even a vocation-finder—one who helps others to see the seed of genius in them and their hidden talents. Commit yourself to helping others especially the young and those under you; never be an obstacle to any person’s progress or a killer of other people’s dreams. Help make God’s dream possible for all those who come within your sphere of influence!!!
Indeed, the Christian life is an invitation to bring others to the Lord or bring the Lord to others. And one of the best ways to bring the Lord to people is to help them see the hand of God in their lives and to lead them to the Lord in whom and through whom they can see the way, the truth, and the life and the proximate and ultimate purpose of our earthly pilgrimage.
© Stan Chu Ilo