“And finally, never lose hope in God’s mercy.” (Rule of St. Benedict 4:74)
Two threads over on Livejournal caught my eye, this one, and this one. Sadly, what was being discussed in them is nothing new. In both threads, the posters were being criticized for their decision to become a music major. Both were advised–in a polite sense of the term–to get “real” majors and “real” jobs.
In some parts of the world, the Roman Catholic clergy is facing a vocational crisis. There are too few priests to go around, and even fewer people entering the seminary. It’s fashionable to blame everything from female altar servers, homosexuality, and whatever bugaboo is bothering people at the time. But I think the real crisis is in the perception of a vocation.
The OED and a year’s worth of Latin last summer remind me that the word “vocation” is derived from the verb “vocare,” or “to call.” A vocation is something one is called to, and the choice is ours whether to respond or not. It’s not something one can decide on a whim, but a result of careful listening and discernment. It’s something that can lead people into wild and uncomfortable places, but it, like anything else in life, is far from certain.