When we hear the word “vocation” most of us immediately think of priesthood or religious life. If that were the case, then only some people would have “a vocation.” However, everyone has a vocation. A more appropriate way of thinking about a vocation is an invitation from God to participate in His Life in a unique way, to be transformed into our best selves. The saints have echoed this interpretation. St. Francis De Sales wrote, “Be who you are and be that well.” Saint Catherine of Siena concurred, “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” A more contemporary saint, John Henry Newman once reflected, “God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next.” We are all a piece in the puzzle that is called “life.”
The Gospel for the Fourth Sunday of Easter describes Jesus as a shepherd, but more importantly, as a “Good Shepherd.” A shepherd is a striking image of participation in the Divine Life and of compassion to all entrusted to his/her care. In this context, we are all shepherds! The current pandemic has made us keenly aware of how we are responsible for each other. Many are struggling with financial hardship, sadness, fear, anxiety, isolation and loneliness. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, responds with deep compassion and carries these sheep on His shoulders. Each day presents opportunities for us to “carry one another,” to be shepherds, to be faithful to our unique call. Despite the limitations imposed on us by social distancing, we can still find many ways and occasions to “be present” to others. Without leaving the confines of our homes, we can pick up a phone, write a letter, text a person, or contribute online to the many organizations that are actively working to combat Covid-19 or bring solace to those affected by the virus. That is our vocation, our mission, our ministry.
In this time of uncertainty and fear, may we never take anything for granted, but trust in the Good Shepherd.
Sister Marcella Louise Wallowicz CSFN