Expressions of love are as innumerable as the stars in the universe, as bountiful as beauty, as many-faceted as the gems of the earth. I say again that sameness is not a sentence to mediocrity or uniformity. You are a unique expression of the selfsame love that exists in all creation. Thus your expression of love is as unique as your Self. It is in the cooperation between unique expressions of love that creation continues and miracles become natural occurrences. C:20.30
At church last night, sitting in our new spots, which I would guess we will not be in much longer—I got tears in my eyes considering what it will be like to go to Mass without Mom. It was an extravagant Mass, the “installation” of our new pastor Fr. Adams, the young priest returned from Venezuelan conflict to pastor not one but three parishes. This was the third of his three ceremonies, one at each parish, this one with three priests and two deacons on the altar. One, the bishop’s representative, praying for him to have God’s grace to fulfill his duties, seemed to be doing a bit of a sales job. It sounded a bit like this: “We know we’re asking the impossible of you, but with God’s grace, you can do it.”
I wrote of Fr. Adams in a March blog when he was a visiting mission priest and said, “He seemed frail and perhaps unwell,” and gave as a primary cause the noise that he spoke of. Something in me related to him for that. He couldn’t escape the noise—and he needed to. During yesterday’s Mass, Fr. Adams didn’t have much to say. The other priests did all the talking. But in his homily as a visiting priest, he spoke not only of the noise of living in a Venezuelan village, but of how the people would “hand you their hearts.” I suspect that’s what kept him going.
I felt sorry for Fr. Adams. And yet similar words used in another way inspired me in my way. “God gives every single one of us the grace of our own vocation.” “Let all of the people of these three diverse parishes meet Christ in you and you in them.”
“God gives every single one of us the grace of our own vocation.”
You could find this sentiment in the second Treatise, A Treatise on Unity’s focus on “calling.” Calling and vocation both speak of something unique that exists in us as a given, a particular feature of our creation, something ours to do or be in this life. Diverse descriptions of callings in ACOL speak of teachers and farmers and those caring for young children and creating a home. There is a sense that Jesus is saying that when you live by this inner calling, this gift, you will live truly. You will be following your heart. You will manifest the Christ in You.
Vocational ideas were in me this week as I took the plunge and sent off a description of my presentation for next year’s ACIM conference. It was due by the end of the month and so I waffled. Send it now, or wait? Give myself some time to change my mind . . . or commit? Such is the way of things like conferences—commitment is asked for. Will you come? You must decide. Will you agree to the terms? Decision needed. Send a photo. Register. Check off the items on a list. All necessary. Requirements—prescribed ways of doing things—and a need to be innovative, are part of all vocations. You are asked to do something no one else can do, and you are asked to do it within certain guidelines. You and I are, in many ways given our “thing to do” in its original form at our birth, and given it again and perhaps again and again in the fullness of our lives, as Fr. Adams lived his vocation in Venezuela and will do so again in Minnesota. But of course, that’s not the end of the story.
The amazement of being who we are is how many-faceted we are in our wholeness. My presentation will be loosely based on being all of who we are . . . on leaving no part of ourselves out of what we bring to each other and the world. This requires, of course, acceptance of all that we are—not just of the parts that sound good or feel good; it suggests acceptance that we are more than our parts, and that yet, all parts of us are essential. It suggests acceptance of our humanity and our divinity. It also suggests acceptance of the mystery:
This list of different callings could be endless, and each could be considered unexplainable. Those who seek an explanation before following a calling, who look for reasons of a practical nature, who would seek guarantees of the rightness and outcome of following such a call, seek for proof they have already been given. The call itself is proof. It is proof of the heart’s ability to be heard. Of the heart’s ability to recognize the unseen and to imagine the existence of that which will reveal its true nature and its joy. T2:2.7
The wonder is that our callings do not suggest that we give up any part of who we are, but that each of us bring all of who we are into being.