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Thursday, August 04, 2005

As God Calls, He Also Equips


“I am consoled by the fact that the
Lord is able to work and act with
insufficient instruments and, above all,
I rely on your prayers.”

— Pope Benedict XVI on the Day of His Election

People are given the gifts they need to live out their calling. Look at St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Augustine, St. Maximilian Kolbe, and St. John Bosco. These individuals had the intellectual abilities and talents they needed in their vocations, even before they discerned their callings. As God calls, He also equips. The presence of particular gifts, therefore, is at times a helpful indication of what God has planned for an individual.
Look at the example the Father gives us through His own Son. Didn't Jesus have the power to achieve (humanly speaking) much more than He did while here on earth? Then why didn't He? Because the Father willed otherwise. God desired something much more than teaching and good works. Something hidden, something greater. He called for submission. The Father asked His Son to suffer. He asked for surrender. He asked for obedience. And this is the deepest aspect of any vocation — the giving up of one's own will to do the Will of God. And that's why the natural signs valued by human judgment cannot be the sole guidelines for making a decision to follow a particular vocation.
It frequently happens that young people put off answering God's call because of feelings of unworthiness and inadequacy. They believe that they lack the necessary gifts to answer God's call. Such people are placing too much emphasis on the importance of their own abilities and judgments.
When Moses was called, he also fell into this error. At first he questioned God, saying, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh?..."(Ex 3:11). A recognition of one's own unworthiness is a normal response, but Moses became doubtful about his calling. He said he would not be believed and he'd be called a liar. So God gave him adequate proofs such as the miraculous staff that he could show to the people. God told Moses to put his hand in his clothing and when Moses pulled it out, it was touched with leprosy. Moses then repeated the action and the leprosy vanished.
Moses then went further: "I am slow of speech and tongue" (Ex 4:10). So God told him not to worry, that He would take care of it when Moses was obliged to speak. God tried to convince Moses that His power would suffice and not to worry about inadequacies. Moses' response showed a lack of trust: "Please send another." Take note how God became angry with Moses because of his stubbornness. We must avoid putting God to the test by not having enough faith that He will give us what we need to do His work.
St. John Vianney had a terribly difficult struggle in his studies for the priesthood. He was ordained certainly not because of his good grades but because of his piety and ardent desire to help others. The bishop ordained him and sent him to the remotest corner of the diocese, where he thought he could do the least amount of damage among the uneducated people. St. John Vianney would go on to become one of the great saints of the 19th century. His holiness was recognized throughout the world and he saved countless souls. Even if academically he was a failure, who can doubt the wisdom of St. John Vianney about the things of God? It is a wisdom the world does not understand, and is given by God alone.
A free Vocation DVD to help young people find their vocation may be requested at If you are looking for a vocation, or know a young person that God might be calling, please visit this website or call 866-276-9159.
Fr. Christopher Foeckler, M.J. is a Miles Jesu priest ordained by Pope John Paul II in 1986. He is a graduate of the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome (the Angelicum). Among his many apostolates, Fr. Foeckler is dedicated to hearing four hours of confessions daily at the Miles Jesu community center in Phoenix, AZ.

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