The Call You Don’t See Coming

From the September 2022 issue of Give Us This Day:

Have you ever sensed a calling even before you were ready to hear it? Maybe a career you once loved suddenly becomes shallow and repetitive, or your heart is seized with a surprising desire for fulfillment beyond paying the bills. Perhaps the reality of our suffering world evokes a call to service from deep within. Often in these moments, we recoil from God’s invitation. Like Peter, we’d rather the Lord depart from us. We even give him a reason. “Lord, I’m sinful.” And it’s true, we are both participants in and victims of the sin and suffering in our world. But that’s not a good excuse, and Jesus doesn’t even acknowledge it. He cuts to the core of our resistance: fear.

Jesus sees immediately that “Depart from me, Lord” really means “Lord, I’m afraid. This is all I know, and you are calling me to something new.” And Jesus’ reassurance for Peter is a masterclass in eliciting discipleship, connecting Peter’s current occupation of fishing with his emerging vocation: “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.”

We often fear that Christ is calling us to be someone entirely different from who we really are. But the reality is that we are called to become more deeply in touch with the person God created us to be.

God’s call is both restoration and redemption: a liberation from fear and from all we thought we were, outside of God. But as Paul writes, “everything belongs to you . . . and you [belong] to Christ, and Christ [belongs] to God.”

Once we experience that, we will gladly leave everything and follow Christ.

Michael J. Sanem “The Call You Don’t See Coming,” from the September 2022 issue of Give Us This Day (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2022). Used with permission.

Banana en Playa, 2022

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