Remember to check Pope Francis’ Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on this link at the Vatican site. Let’s finish our theme “The call of Jesus our friend.”
How does vocation relate to friendship? Perhaps think of it as joining with the Lord in a shared endeavor. It could be like a business, a school project, an athletic aspiration. Our Friend will invite us to join him in some demanding tasks. Sometimes it will seem as if the sideline coach or the partner on a business trip is far away. Sometimes we will sweat it out because our final grade depends on the cooperation of a lab partner. But there is a final goal:
289. A vocation, while a gift, will undoubtedly also be demanding. God’s gifts are interactive; to enjoy them we have to be ready to take risks. Yet the demands they make are not an obligation imposed from without, but an incentive to let that gift grow and develop, and then become a gift for others. When the Lord awakens a vocation, he thinks not only of what you already are, but of what you will one day be, in his company and in that of others.
Young people add important human qualities to the effort. A great liturgist is cited:
290. Sheer vitality and strength of personality combine in the hearts of young people to make them constantly aim higher. This exuberance will be tempered by time and painful experiences, but it is important for “this youthful and still untested yearning for the infinite”[Romano Guardini, Die Lebensalter. Ihre ethische und pädagogische Bedeutung, Würzburg, 3rd ed., 1955, 20.] to encounter the unconditional friendship that Jesus offers us.
Advice from the culture would suggest regulations are for many things. Workplaces, transportation, and schools, certainly. Advice gurus suggest habits and rules for relationships, diet and exercise, and countless other human projects.
More than rules and obligations, the choice that Jesus sets before us is to follow him as friends follow one another, seeking each other’s company and spending time together out of pure friendship. Everything else will come in time, and even failures in life can be an invaluable way of experiencing that friendship, which will never be lost.
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