Think back to when you were a child or adolescent and dreamed of what the future may hold for you! Did you hope to become a cowboy (or cowgirl!), a dancer, a teacher? What did you hope to become when you were finally a grownup? I always wanted to become an archeologist! Why an archeologist? I honestly can't recall. It's the furthest thing from my mind now. Perhaps we all want to have a job or career that is interesting and engaging – something that we are “called” to be our nature and personality. Many people feel they are truly “called” to a particular vocation in life. Maybe you are a person who has realized your calling and are presently living it. You have the job or position that you dreamed of in your youth. If so, the question is this: does the fulfillment of your dream make you happy now?
It is interesting that we often dreamed back then of tangible things we could name, identify and describe.
We may not have seen it as a spiritual direction or call from God. In our families we didn't speak about “a call from God.” Yet today's first (Isaiah) and third (Acts of the Apostles) readings both speak of God calling individuals to do special things.
Isaiah had a dream or vision wherein an angel appeared to him and the voice of God spoke, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” This was God's call for Isaiah to step up and become God's spokesperson. Isaiah answered , “Here I am! Send me!” By expressing his willingness and becoming a prophet of God, his life changed dramatically. Today we think of Isaiah only as a prophet of God, but he had a different life, similar to many other people of his time and culture, before he said “yes” to God's call. We too are called by God in different ways to do God's bidding. That means we too have to change what we are doing, how we are spending our time. We have to recognize the call as making specific dmands on our time and energy.
In the Gospel, Jesus performs a wonder by filling the nets with a multitude of fish. It was an unexpected catch that caught the fishermen off guard. They were astounded and fearful until Jesus announced to them that he was about to change their lives: they were no longer to catch fish but to catch people. What a life-changing call from Jesus! They brought their boats to shore and left their livelihood behind to follow Jesus' lead. Their entire lives up to that moment were on the shores and the Sea of Galilee. From that moment forward, their lives would become an adventure of discipleship as they learned from the Master and discovered their God-given call and mission.
We all receive this call from God many times in our lives. How often do we recognize the call? God does not ask the impossible of us, but God does sometimes ask the difficult of us, though God also pledges his assistance in the doing. My calls from God include that of being a mother and a grandmother – very difficult at times but also very rewarding. God also called me to ordained priesthood, a call that developed slowly but surely over thirty tears.
Lent arrives next week. Perhaps this Lent in addition to penance and alms giving we can add listening more carefully to what God is calling us to do in the here and now. The call is a gift. God is always calling. Are we always listening for the call?