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Vocation Story

Hear me, O islands, listen, O distant peoples. The LORD called me from birth, from my mother's womb he gave me my name. He made of me a sharp-edged sword and concealed me in the shadow of his arm. He made me a polished arrow, in his quiver he hid me. You are my servant, he said to me, Israel, through whom I show my glory. Though I thought I had toiled in vain, and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength, yet my reward is with the LORD, my recompense is with my God. For now the LORD has spoken who formed me as his servant from the womb, that Jacob may be brought back to him and Israel gathered to him; and I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD, and my God is now my strength! It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the survivors of Israel; I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth. (Isaiah 49:1-6)

Even to the uninitiated Scripture afficianado, it is rather obvious that the second of the Suffering Servant Songs is a vocation story. As we read it, we realize what God had in mind by fashioning this people for himself. The song is written in the first person; Israel is heard musing about her call, her reason for existence. Doubts have been part of Israel's history, but Isaiah counters those doubts by reminding Israel that God is with her.

Each of us is also called. God has something in mind for each of us at the moment of our creation. We often hear parents saying of their children that "he or she has not yet found himself or herself." Another way of saying this is that the person in question has not heard or heeded God's call for them. For each of us has been destined for some mission on this earth, each of us has been called to be bring the light of God's wisdom into the world through our obedience to God's call. We are called to be holy.

Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M.

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