Monday, November 30, 2009

Erosion of Vocations

In the diagnostic of loss of vocations to priestly or religious life, we must realize how the temptations of the world, the devil and the flesh (or inner pride) work. As in the natural elements mostly the erosion takes time and is unnoticed. That's part of the strategy of the devil, to come in unnoticed. He always paints evil under the guise of good to deceive people.

That's why, even in the matter of obedience which is the foundation of religious life, as St. John of the Cross puts it, one must be cautious always to do things within the bounds of obedience. And since obedience ultimately is directed to God, one's obedience must be irrespective of the human characteristics of the authority in the compliance of orders. Otherwise it becomes a purely human obedience, not an obedience of faith to the invisible God, the very source of merit and victory.

In that feeling of freedom and pride of disobedience, you are just doing harm to yourself. Once you find yourself reaching a point of no return after those little infidelities, you realize the truth of the prophet Samuel's reproof to King Saul who was rejected by God for not following instructions, rather he took what was precious in the war booty under the pretense of reserving them for temple offerings. The prophet's words: "Is the pleasure of Yahweh in holocausts and sacrifices or in obedience to the voice of Yahweh? Yes, obedience is better than sacrifice, submissiveness better than the fat of rams" (1 Sam. 15:22).

Even the little acts of dishonesty in finances can cause erosion in a vocation since the little is always interconnected to the whole, as a part to the whole. Such as for example dishonesty in handling money that is not yours or not paying rightful debts. Jesus' own words attest to this. "And so I tell you: use money, tainted as it is, to win you friends, and thus make sure that when it fails you, they will welcome you into the tents of eternity. The man who can be trusted in little things can be trusted in great; the man who is dishonest in little things will be dishonest in great. If then you cannot be trusted with money, that tainted thing, who will trust you with genuine riches? And if you cannot be trusted with what is not yours, who will give you what is your very own?" (Lk. 16:4-12). Wealth is external to man, the spiritual gifts are an intimate possession of man.

To end, let's not forget history: the fall of Lucifer and his angels from heaven now become Satan and his tempting devils, the fall of our first parents Adam and Eve, and the many who lost their vocation and even became leaders of deviating movements. Let's pray for them and thank God for His gracces on His faithful and humble people who continue to follow His ways of love and forgiveness.

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