By Father Victorin Oussoï SVD
In the Book of Samuel, God calls the prophet, and in the Gospel of John, John the Baptist sends two of his disciples to Jesus. But in our daily lives, it is not always easy to find our calling. However, if we listen closely, we will find the way. God works implicitly through our feelings, natural abilities, friends, parents, educators and church affiliations.
They help us decide how to make a living that makes our lives meaningful. They guide some people in choosing their life partner. Priests, brothers and sisters make a meaningful life through a vocation, which we also refer to as a “calling.” It is the invitation to follow Jesus as a religious woman, a religious man or priest.
Christians who choose this type of life choose celibacy, which helps them not only make meaningful choices but also prepares them to break away from loved ones in order to be a part of the human community in a special way.
They keep themselves free in order to devote themselves entirely to building universal human relationships, and as such, they are a living sign of the kingdom of God. That is what my confreres and I experience in community. We are five confreres from five countries, living together in a celibate life.
We have made this choice freely by responding to the voice of God. This has guided us to four parishes in Plauen, Strehlen, Löbtau, and Cotta, Germany. Our vows help us let go of everything and be ready to go wherever God is waiting for us. And this choice is not made once. It must be done every day.
So, what helps me to let go of everything today to hear God’s voice? Indeed, dear sisters and brothers! To respond to God’s call, one must leave a place and arrive where God is.
It is about leaving home, comfort, and family to go where God is waiting for us. In fact, I am convinced that there is no arrival without departure. To this end, John the Baptist invites us to see the Lamb of God. And we meet this Lamb of God in the Eucharist.
Through the Eucharist, Christ will join us and dwell in us in the form of bread and wine. When we connect with him in bread and wine, he gives us strength for life and faith. It is the celebration of our deliverance from sin and death. And that is God’s plan: that we are all free.
When Jesus calls us, he wants to free us from what keeps us captive. Many things in this world can hold us captive: self-pride, comfort zones, desires and the material world. And just as it took Samuel time to understand God’s call, it sometimes takes a long time for us to answer God.
Sometimes, we need time to free ourselves from our material world. Sometimes, we need time to leave our comfort zones. Sometimes, we need time to let go of our self-pride. We must be patient because it takes time.
It is a journey that we cannot travel alone. We need people like the prophet Eli in our lives who always point us in the right direction. We need time for the best things in life to materialize.
Love grows in marriage, friendship, and family over many years. There are significant moments, but often it cannot be rushed. Come! See! Stay! These are three words that we need today. And this invitation is not only for the disciples Andrew and Peter but also for you and me.
It is for all who dare to be a follower of Jesus in our world today. And I especially want to invite our young sisters and brothers to be open to God’s call and challenge. And you, dear parents, I encourage you to work together generously when any of your children feel God’s invitation to live meaningful lives of devotion in the priesthood or religious life.
Let’s all be disciples in our little ways.