Good evening. I was wondering if anyone might have any comment upon this conversation I had with a friend a few nights ago. Some background might be in order:
I’ve learned in my 33 years that life is not easy, not for anyone. Certainly, we look at the lives of others–the wealthier, those with a seemingly better career or a seemingly better marriage and family–with some trace of envy, but we forget that these others have their own private anguishes as well, and could indeed even find some reason to envy us. We are, after all, the fallen human race, all of us.
The response to all of this, obviously, is to accept this as the fruit of our human nature and as our portion of the Cross, and the work of a jealous God Who will do all things necessary to draw us unto Him again, to the point of sharing our humanity and offering up the sufferings of our blighted existence to the Father once more. And so, we, the members of His Body, offer it up with Him.
How this is relevant to vocation is that all vocations are usually, to my experience, presented more as a penance or a renunciation than as a joyful embrace of the divine plan, as a “no” rather than as a “yes.” Certainly, every no implies a yes and vice versa. However, one who thinks on those lawful things of which he’s deprived himself (or been deprived by outside agency) rather than upon the benefits offered can make a man morose indeed.
In our conversation, my friend insisted on the “yes,” and I on the “no,” almost sternly, as though I still, even knowing what I know, envy the pleasures of others and mourn the graces I’ve denied myself or have been denied by circumstance. When it comes to it, I find myself contemplating my privations more than I do my benefits, even though these privations may be necessary for my salvation. My joy, in other words, is lacking, and my grief is great.
I chose vocations rather than spirituality for this thread largely because I’m wondering if any, of any state in life, have had to deal with these issues before–or, in the case of spiritual directors or novice masters, have had to walk someone else through them.
But I’ll leave it open-ended; any thoughts?