Are You Called?

We often hear many stories of people who are led to do something different than they usually do and we learn this totally changed their life and perspectives. We call such changes in our spiritual life a ‘call’ or ‘vocation’ (comes from the Latin verb vocare meaning ‘to call’). In scripture, we hear many such stories of ‘call’, both in the Old and New Testaments. These Biblical stories of ‘call’ can be, for an individual or for a whole community.

In spirituality, a ‘call’ is mainly for conversion and for a new mission. Every conversion story is unique according to one’s personality and mode of conversion. At a young age, Thomas Merton was convicted of his sins when he was on a European tour. Nabeel Qureshi found Christ in the compassionate people he wanted to convert to Islam (Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus. 2016). At the age of 31, Dr. Albert Schweitzer left his comfortable life of music and philosophy and enrolled himself in medical school, so that he might work as a physician to bring healing to the African people.

‘A call’ for conversion and for mission is very common even today. We may have experienced some sorts of conversion moments in our lives. Sometimes, we ignore those feelings, and other times, we fail to recognize them as ‘a call’. Only when we recognize them as something coming from God, like grace, will we be able see a Divine plan for us and for our future. Every ‘call’ of God affects us from now, into our future.

In the First Reading, God ‘calls’ Jonah for a special mission – his job is to go and warn the people of Nineveh that if they do not change from their sinful ways, they will be destroyed. Nineveh was the capital of Assyria, the enemy of the Jews. The Assyrians destroyed the Jews’ temple and persecuted the people. The Jews were looking forward to seeing the punishment inflicted by God for their misdeeds. Instead, God ‘calls’ a Jewish prophet to bring the message of conversion to them. Jonah is a symbol of Jewish mentality at that time. Instead of becoming a messenger, he runs away in the opposite direction. But, God finally fulfills His work of conversion through the prophet Jonah.

When God ‘calls’ us for a specific mission, we are just an instrument in His hands. His ‘call’ entirely consumes our life. It looks like God compels us to accepts His mission, but it is our deeper self that realizes that in accepting God’s mission, we truly actualize our potential.

In today’s Scripture, we see Jesus ‘call’ simple, insignificant fishermen to become His apostles. They had no idea what their lives would become. We know now that their lives were entirely changed by that simple ‘call’ from the Lord. That day they left their nets, their profession, and their daily bread on the shore of the sea of Galilee and followed the Master.

Have you heard Him ‘calling’ you?  “Today when you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts…” (Heb 3:15).

–Fr. Ranjan D’Sa OCD

Category Reflections