Whatever Your Vocation Is, Do It Well!
Your vocation isn’t just about you. It’s about contributing in the right way to the entire mission of the Church.
My physical therapist told me that, because of my scoliosis (which was exacerbated by a pregnancy), I had been using all the wrong muscles for ordinary things like sitting, standing and lifting. We worked on targeting specific muscles for strengthening, but more than that she taught me how to use the correct muscles for these ordinary things.
Using my muscles correctly was huge. Several months ago, I struggled to carry my seven-pound newborn from the bedroom to the living room; these days I’m throwing my chubby 8-month-old in the air, over and over again. (She loves it.)
“Rather ... we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every joint with which it is supplied, when each part is working properly, makes bodily growth and upbuilds itself in love.” (Ephesians 4:15-16)
When we think of our own vocation, we often think primarily of our own lives. We want to be happy, to grow in holiness, to serve God and give our lives to him — and our vocation is the path God made for all of this. All of that is true. But the Church is not a miscellaneous collection of individuals all desiring happiness; the Church is the Body of Christ. The parts of the body form a unit and the unit has a task that can only be done well “when each part is working properly.”
The Church, the body, as a unit has work to do — a Great Commission to “go out and make disciples of all nations.” In order to do that work, each part of the body needs to be working properly. Each part needs to be well-formed, trained, strong, habituated and in the right place, and it needs to be doing its own work and not someone else’s work.
Your vocation isn’t just about you. It’s about contributing in the right way to the whole mission of the Church to make that mission most effective.
Biceps are showy, but lifting is more efficient when core and leg muscles, generally not seen, are doing most of the work — and I don’t engage my core to show off my biceps but to lift the baby. Likewise, while the showy vocations may seem more exciting, they often depend on the hidden ones, and the purpose isn’t to show off the more exciting or attractive vocations but to accomplish some work as a whole. We don’t need to compete with each other about whose vocation is more exciting; we should look to the task at hand and work together, each of us doing our own part well.
Regardless of what your vocation is, do it well! Root everything in prayer. Develop the skills you need to do your work, whatever it is. Whether you’re enduring sickness or corralling toddlers or hearing confessions or serving in a political office, whether you’re wearing a uniform or a suit or a habit, live your vocation well. If you’re a psoas muscle, be a good psoas muscle! Most people don’t think much about their psoas muscles, but gosh, I am so grateful that mine is working better now, because I am able to fill the house with baby laughter!