Steven Riddle from Flos Carmeli wrote a very interesting article about vocations. Here's an excerpt:
- The point I wanted to make about vocation is that everyone has one. It may not be the traditionally recognized vocation to Priesthood, Religious Life, or Third Orders, but everyone is summoned by God to absolute holiness of life and the track of that summons, the path of that vocation, is laid out by God alone. No two people walk the same trail; no two people carry precisely the same cross; all people are made Holy by God's action and by grace, but no two people obtain the same graces, have the same talents, or exercise their abilities in precisely the same way.
This idea is prelude to another, which is more difficult to express. The second notion is that while no two people are called to the same exact track, there are practices, disciplines, and ways of living that are necessary for all people who wish to obtain holiness. For example, attendance at the sacraments and disposing oneself to God's prevenient Grace are necessary components to a Holy Life. Familiarity with and even immersion in the Scriptures ("Ignorance of the scriptures is ignorance of Christ") a necessary component. One aspect of this immersion, which has been frequently discussed is Lectio Divina. A certain amount of Lectio is useful for every person. However, Lectio as a gateway to contemplation is part of the Carmelite charism (and perhaps the charism of other orders), it is not a universal gateway, and it may not be the most effective practice of prayer for all people. Therefore, we also have bible study and bible-based prayers such as the Liturgy of the Word at Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours. All of these are ways of exposing oneself to scripture; however, it seems that effort beyond that of attending Mass is often extremely helpful to individuals in their attempts to become holy.
Read the rest of the article here.
One of the things that I have found almost overwhelming is the paths within the Catholic church. The Church is what you make of it, with a solid foundation as the start. Going through RCIA and getting baptized is only the start of my journey. Many people are Catholic by simply going to Sunday mass and having simple daily prayer, and that's Ok. Others become Third Order members of different lay organizations. Still others become priests or nuns or deacons. Many people focus on devotions, like the Rosary or the Divine Mercy chaplet. Others feel called to pray the Liturgy of the Hours or to spend time in front of the Blessed Sacrament on a regular basis.
There's just SO MANY OPTIONS! I feel so overwhelmed sometimes. I try to keep it simple, to focus on one book or one prayer. I find myself drawn towards the Divine Mercy chaplet much more than I am the Rosary, for example. I was feeling kind of bad because I embraced the Divine Mercy chaplet so wholeheartedly while struggling through the Rosary, but then I read a post by Jimmy Akin that said that he enjoyed the Divine Mercy more than the Rosary.
I feel that for now, my path is pennance and conversion of my soul towards God. I think that's why I was so drawn to Mary Magdalene for my patron saint. It is important for me to feel that humility towards God that she felt as she washed his feet and annointed them with oil. I have been so prideful in the past, and I know that without that humility I will never even begin the journey towards knowing God and feeling his presence in my life. However, I don't feel that I need to do severe fasting or other extreme mortifications to feel closer to God. I think I do better with simple prayer, praying for mercy for myself, for the world, and for the poor souls in purgetory.
Right now I don't know enough about the different paths within the church to be really drawn to one, especially in regards to Carmelites vs Franciscans vs Dominicans, etc. But then again, I still have a month before I'm baptized. I should be focusing on my conversion, and experiencing Lent to the fullest. I hope I keep myself humble enough to be able to be led to the path that will bring me closest to God and will help me do the things I need to do to have God's will in my life.