To prepare for something big, start with small things

| Father Michael Schmitz | June 9, 2016 | 0 Comments

Q. I feel like God is going to call me to do something big, but I don’t know what. How can I make sure that I don’t miss what he will call me to do? And what can I do in the meantime?

A. Fantastic question! Before I try to offer an answer, I think it could be helpful to clarify one or two things. First, any call that comes from God is “something big.” Regardless of whether or not what you are called to do is noticed by others, if God is calling, then the call is important.

Sometimes, we can fall into the trap of thinking like the world, and we can begin to believe that significance means fame. It certainly does not. The great call is the call to be a saint, and there have been an incredible number of unknown saints.

Second, while it may very well be that God will call you to something in the future, he is calling you in this very moment as well. I know many people who have embraced the thinking that God will call them “someday” when he reveals their vocation to them, and then neglected to pay attention to what he is calling them to do today. Remember, your primary call is to be a saint. You do not have to wait to begin traveling that road. In fact, you must not. God is calling you now.

At this point, usually people will say something like, “Oh, of course! I know that I’m supposed to be a saint, but I am talking about my ‘real’ vocation!”

I understand, but the call to be a saint is your real vocation. If you miss that, you miss everything. If you and I fail to become a saint (a known saint or an anonymous one), then we will have missed out on the entire point of our lives.

The other rebuttal some folks have is that they don’t know what they are supposed to do to become a saint. The equation is remarkably simple: Do God’s will.

Being a saint is not dependent on making all-night prayer vigils or fasting for 40 days on end. Being a saint is not the result of performing miracles or of transforming society or founding a new religious order. Being a saint means one thing: I have become a person who wants — and chooses — what God wants. Being a saint means that my will and God’s will are in agreement. And the great news is, you know what God first desires of you.

You may not know what God will call you to do in the future, but you know what he is asking of you right now. Much like the rich young man who came before Jesus and asked what he should do to inherit eternal life, Jesus tells us, “You know the commandments . . . .” God has revealed his will for our lives in the commandments and the teachings of the Church. While we cannot follow these perfectly, with God’s grace, we can live joyful and holy lives.

Choose to act on what God has revealed to you. If you do this — if you make a practice out of saying yes to God in daily things — then you will be poised and ready when he asks larger things of you.

I have mentioned before in this column that a person will never miss their vocation if they consistently ask the following three questions:

1. Am I in a state of grace? (If not, go to confession.)

2. Am I doing my daily duties? (If not, look at your calendar, and do them.)

3. Did I pray today? (If not, spend time with God in prayer.)

Those are three things that you can do right now. And while it is essential to be attentive to the first and the third questions (which are reflections of our lived relationship with God), I want to give some attention to that middle question: your daily duties.

When it comes to the actions and behaviors that fill up your day, I invite you to ask the question: Is what I am doing leading to a life that honors God?

I think of young David in 1 Samuel. He is going to be called to something great; he will be the king of Israel. But what does he do in the meantime? He trains. He prepares. He does the tasks his father has given him to do. He does not waste hours of his life playing video games or on Netflix or Twitter. David keeps guard over his father’s sheep. He does this mundane and super boring task so attentively that, when the moment comes for him to step up and fight for his people against Goliath, he is ready and able.

Young David heard the challenge of Goliath and was not only willing to do something, but he also was able. In response to the objection that he was too young and inexperienced, David replies, “‘Your servant used to tend his father’s sheep, and whenever a lion or bear came to carry off a sheep from the flock, I would chase after it, attack it and snatch the prey from its mouth. If it attacked me, I would seize it by the throat, strike it and kill it. Your servant has killed both a lion and a bear.’ David continued: ‘The same Lord who delivered me from the claws of the lion and the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine’” (1 Sm 18: 34-37). This kid has trained and is prepared!

If you want to know your vocation, it is to be a saint. If you want to be prepared to say “yes” to your vocation, train by saying “yes” to God in your daily tasks.

Father Schmitz is director of youth and young adult ministry for the Diocese of Duluth and chaplain of the Newman Center at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Reach him at fathermikeschmitz@gmail.com.

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Category: Seeking Answers