Does Vocation Equal Happiness?

At the Collegeville institute this question took center stage for some time. I think many young people often think that living out one’s vocation means that they are happy in doing what they are doing, or worse, perhaps it means that their lives are EASY because they have found a vocation that suits them.

Both thoughts are complete hogwash.

One colleague at the table offered the following nugget that I’ll paraphrase here:

“My dad was a manual labor worker and I had the great fortune of working in the summers alongside him. It was there that I’d hear the words ‘Your Dad is a great guy and is always so helpful to everyone.’ Or ‘Your dad doesn’t treat me any differently because I’m black.’ Or, ‘Your dad always goes the extra mile for all of us.’ Or even, ‘Your dad works really hard for his family.’

Now going to work was not a day at the beach for my Dad. But it was there that I know he truly lived out his vocation. He was the best version of himself and lived each day according to the way that he felt God was calling him.

Beautiful. I could say a lot of the same things about my father, a school custodian, who worked so hard to give me just about all that I have.

Vocation, you see, is not the easy way out or a magic happy pill. Vocation is much more. Vocation is living in a way that allows us to be all that we are, all that God calls us into being. We cannot fight our vocation and when thrust into situations that are less than ideal, can we follow that same call that allows us to express the best version of ourselves.

So while we may not have the best job, or even the one that we hoped for, there is much to do and even more to become. Vocation is all about living the present moment and asking ourselves where is God calling me to be? Is there a Word from the Lord to be spoken here? How can God lead me to be the person I am called to be–nothing more–but more importantly, nothing less.

Where did God call you today?

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