We talk to our children a lot about what they are going to be when they grow up.
Not the career stuff…
but the vocation stuff.
For example, some years ago when we were all at a shrine in the United States, every one of us (with the exception of our youngest then, Sophia) took turns going into the small chapel to ask the God of the universe: What are you calling me to be?
The children of course came back with very different replies.
Gabriel, the oldest, came back with the most benign reaction in the world: “God wants me to be a priest.”
Apparently, Gabriel knew that already.
Tobias came back and whispered with a hint of sadness in my ear: “I didn’t hear anything.”
“Don’t worry Tobias," I said to him. "Sometimes Daddy has to really listen hard with my ears and my heart to hear God’s whispers too. Let’s try again soon.”
Benjamin returned with a happy grin. “I think Jesus is telling me to be a daddy like you … because, you know, I am good with babies.”
Hannah exited the chapel with arms crossed and an "I told you so" look on her face. “I’m going to be a nun,” was all she would say.
You will remind the world of something it so often forgets: our God is the God of joy.
And Jonah, who would soon be four years old, had apparently received the greatest news of all. With a wide smile on his face, he pulled me down to his height to report his conversation with Jesus: “He wants me to be happy.” He is right. Your vocation, no matter what you have been called to, should bring joy. So why is it that many of us today will struggle to control our tempers when our children are disobedient? Why is it some of us will feel like crying or just ignoring our spouse when they "don’t get us?" Because as much as God wants you to be happy and has called you to a vocation where that is most possible, you still have to CHOOSE joy. Mother Theresa had to choose joy in the slums and misery of Calcutta. Karol Wojtyla had to choose joy while he lived in Nazi occupied Poland and until it could finally fill up in him and spill over into the entire Church when he became Pope John Paul II. You can choose to be happy too. Right where you are. Today. And if you can do that … well, you can see what I see, can’t you? You will remind the world of something it so often forgets: our God is the God of joy.
Blessed be His holy name.