I have heard it said that “to do anything less than the will of God for your life will bore you.” I believe this is true. If God is the source of all goodness and if happiness lies in God alone, than how can we find fulfillment in anything other than God and in seeking his will for our lives?
In the parable of the rich young man, we hear of a young adult seeking the ultimate fulfillment in life: “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” Jesus told him to keep the commandments. Even though this young man was already keeping God’s law, he still felt something lacking in his life. He was rich and comfortable and yet was bored and felt that there was something greater that he was supposed to be doing. He wanted to know God’s will but was not fully prepared to respond generously. The Lord told him: “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come follow me.” In response, the Gospel tells us that the young man “went away sorrowful.” He was too attached to his wealth and comfort to accept God’s invitation.
Likewise, God has a plan for each and every one of us. Whether it be a vocation to the priesthood, religious life, married or single life, we should give our all for God and strive to become saints. Our job is to pray to know his will and to be generous in our response to his calling. Sure, it’s possible to choose a path other than that which Our Lord calls us, for we are free, and we can still be happy in life but not as happy or fulfilled as we might have been had we said “yes” to his will.
Pope John Paul II gave us some advice when discerning our vocations in life. He said: “When deciding your future, you must not decide for yourselves alone.” It is not about what I want in life that will bring fulfillment but what God wants.
While giving a vocation talk to youth, Fr. Brett Brannen, the vice-rector at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, suggested a simple prayer to make our own: “Jesus, help me to want what you want.” It is in seeking God’s will and his plan for us that we will be truly happy in life. God knows what is best for us, so why not trust in him? If you are having trouble discerning your vocation, talk a priest in whom you trust, he should be glad to help you. The worst thing to do is to sit on the fence waiting for God to make absolutely clear without the slightest trace of doubt what you are supposed to do. You may be waiting a very long time for that to happen, perhaps too long.
Pray that you might know God’s will for your life and for the grace to respond generously to whatever it might be. Then make a step of faith, realizing that God will not be outdone in generosity. Let’s not turn out like the rich young man who went away sad and unfulfilled, but with a joyful “yes” give ourselves wholly to God without reserve according to our state in life!
Br. Patrick Mary, MFVA