Editor’s Note: In gratitude for the responses to his last piece “Meant to Be“, Brendan offers this as a follow up.
I marvel at the life I live now. There is no way that I could have imagined this.
I am happier today as a Jesuit than I have ever been in my entire life and if you had told me that this is where I would be even five years ago I would have laughed out loud. My own imagination was, and is still, too small for the life I’m being asked to live, the life to which God calls me. And I think that this is true for all of us.
Imagine what it will feel like to hold the soft weight of your first-born child in your arms and know, finally and forever, that God has called you to be a parent. Or imagine what it will mean to sit by the bed of your husband or wife, the person to whom you’ve given your entire life, as they learn that they are about to lose theirs? Can you imagine the love that will keep you by their side in sickness and in health… even after “until death do you part”? To know, finally and forever, that God has called you to be a faithful lover?
Sometimes, in these days of scandal and conflict, I try to imagine myself a priest in the Catholic Church. Can I possibly imagine what it will mean to hold in my hands the soft weight of someone else’s child and lift them from the liberating waters of baptism? Or can I imagine what it will mean to hear someone’s tear-filled confession, to look on their humiliation with kindness, and tell them, in the name of the community we call Church, that God has already forgiven them, that they are exactly who God had in mind when he made them?
Can I imagine myself a priest? Of course I can’t.
But I can stop telling myself who I shouldn’t be and start letting God tell me who I am. I can do my best to honor the call, and, instead of being who I should be, be who I already am – the beloved. It is God alone who calls us into being, and God alone with an imagination big enough for the great grace that is the gift of our lives.
You and I were meant to be. This is our vocation. Being loved. Being loving. Beloved.