Called by Name

As I wrote my Christmas cards last month, I dated them in the top right corner with the notation Coronatide. The time of isolation due to the pandemic will certainly be held in our memories for many reasons. Certainly, there was tragedy for many, stress for even more, and suffering of one kind or another for all. And yet, we know as Christians that no suffering is ever wasted when we enter into it ready to receive the graces we need to endure. One of the graces that the Lord gave me was a greater willingness to enter into silence and stillness. I also read more books this past year than I ever had before.

Father Nick Adam
Father Nick Adam

The final book that was on my list this past year was Back to Virtue by Peter Kreeft. Kreeft is a Catholic philosopher who has been well published in the past few decades. This book was first released in 1986, and yet it rings very true today. Kreeft writes about the challenges of trying to apply virtues like prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude in a society that exalts “self-fulfillment” as the greatest good in the universe. We are taught from a young age (through cultural osmosis if not at home) that production is king. We must make money, we must reach certain concrete societal expectations, etc., in order to be fully functioning and fully alive.
This attitude ignores a tenant of the faith that we profess: the fact that our very life comes from and is leading us back to the Lord. We have to make God our number one priority. We have to look to the teachings and example of Jesus Christ to be fully alive. Jesus simply sought to do his Father’s will, and that’s it. This is difficult for us because religion has taken a back seat to just about everything else today. If soccer tournaments and hunting trips take precedent for many over Sunday Mass, then surely what our culture sees as good will take precedent over what Jesus says is good.
To be fully alive is to slowly and surely avoid sin and do good, and to receive the freedom that comes from our relationship with Jesus Christ. That relationship is strengthened by the sacraments and it should drive everything that we do. Living fully alive in God will help our human relationships grow and will help us to have an abiding peace in this world before we have complete happiness in the next. So, live fully alive in 2021, and listen to the voice of the Lord in prayer and at Mass.
You may be wondering: what on earth does this have to do with vocations? Well, it’s simple: vocation comes from the word “to call” and you won’t hear the call if you aren’t intent on listening to the Lord rather than the noise of the World.

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