God’s calls are not direct, like a telephone call; they come through meditation, which I will say more of later. We can attend to Holy Scripture (the Word of God is a powerful medium), to the events of our life, to certain encounters, to requests of friends or superiors, and even to the internal invitations of the Holy Spirit and the desires of our hearts. God never ceases to speak with us in such ways, inviting us to make progress in one way or another, while at the same time giving us the necessary grace and strength.
- Called to Life, p.10
I believe human life is a marvelous adventure. Despite the burden of sufferings and disappointments, it offers us means to grow in humanity, freedom, and interior peace, while exercising our entire capacity for love and joy.
There is, however, one condition. We must give up our own agendas and allow ourselves to be led by life, in happy events and difficult ones, while learning to recognize and accept the calls addressed to us dayby day.
- Called to Life, pp.1-2
Everything that happens to us is in some way or other is a call from God—to grow, to change, to see things differently, and to undergo conversion.
- Called to Life, p.56
I shall insist that any call from God is a call to life. Our first vocation is to live, and a call cannot be from God unless it leads us to live in a more intense and beautiful way, engaging human life as it is with more confidence, in all its aspects: physical, psychological, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual.
- Called to Life, p.4
Behind the many calls addressed to us in life there is but one call—God’s. It takes its fullest and most luminous form in the mystery of Christ. In perceiving and responding to this call, human beings realize their humanity and discover authentic happiness, a happiness that will be fully theirs in the glory of the life to come.
- Called to Life, p.3
In the end, God’s many calls have their source in a single call. It is the call to welcome the mystery of Christ and let ourselves be illuminated and transformed by him.
- Called to Life, p.105
Openness to the call is openness to the fullness of life. Not only natural, physical, emotional, and intellectual life, but also the life realized through relationships, love, communion and, ultimately, through participation in divine, supernatural life. Every call is a call to love more and find fulfillment by participating in the purity and ardor of divine love.
- Called to Life, p.17
Only the notion of calling makes it possible accurately to express both the legitimate desire for self-realization and the evangelical summons to self-renunciation. Self-realization and personal development are highly prized values today. Libraries are filled with countless works outlining techniques, good and bad, to achieve these things. The desire is legitimate. But it isnot so easy to reconcile it with the language of theGospels, which seems to rge renunciation and abnegation.
Believers cannot simply ignore Jesus’ words: If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the Gospel’s will save it (Mk 8:34–35).
The Cross will always be a challenge, but at least this is true: The question at issue here cannot even be addressed apart from the dynamic of call-and-response. The Gospel’s words on self-renunciation quoted above are to be understood in relation to the proclamation of the Kingdom and the call addressed to those who come after Jesus to place availability to the good news of the Kingdom before everything else.
- Called to Life, pp.17-19
The spiritual life would be unlivable if negation and repression were the only legitimate responses to our desires. But the spiritual path is not a way of negation but an education of desire: progressively learning to leave superficial desires behind in order to let the deepest desire emerge, the one that carries the call addressed to us by God.
- Called to Life, p.100
Responding to God opens new, unpredictable horizons. Here is the future, no matter what our past or present may be. Here also is an immense gift, for there is nothing worse than to be without a future. […] That said, it is important to understand that God’s calls do not always involve the whole future panorama of one’s life. Sometimes one is called to take just a single little step—“nothing except for today,” as St. Thérèse of Lisieux said. But it is enough to live and advance a day at a time, finding meaning in existence and persevering until one receives the grace to see more.
- Called to Life, pp. 14-15
Everything that happens contains a call from God. The big and little happinesses of life are first and foremost calls to thanksgiving, and the happiness will be even greater if we respond. It is a joyful thing to receive a gift but even more joyful to give thanks for it.
- Called to Life, p.58
Sorrowful events also contain calls, though with a different content. They can be invitations to faith, to hope, to patience, to courage, to acts of forgiveness, to acceptance of our limits . . . the list is endless. But there is always some particular point, and it does not necessarily become clear to us all at once.
- Called to Life, p.59
Beauty calls—it summons. It leaves no person indifferent; it incites a desire. “God calls to himself all things as the desirable calls to itself desire.” This is an invitation to a response: to admire and love in return the beauty that calls us in manifesting itself. One does not do this on one’s own. The movement that draws one toward what is beautiful and causes one to give thanks does not come from oneself but from beauty.
- Called to Life, p.102
Every authentic vocation is a calling to live ever more fully. We should be wary of callings that may mask refusal to engage life, fear of love, flight from the body or feelings, or a lack of acceptance of human existence as it is. Accepting one’s calling should mean choosing a more intense, abundant way of life, not fear-driving flight, or a disguised choice of death, as can happen with some poorly discerned religious commitments.
- Called to Life, pp.24-25