Do we find fulfillment in careers or callings? While careers pay the bills, our calling invites us into a deeper relationship with God. However, the millennial generation seem to associate the word “calling” to “church work.” If ministry is the fruit of discipleship, we must change the language to invite many into the fulfillment that comes with living out their calling, no matter what profession or major. We know that Jesus changes the language for parables and utilizes symbolism in order to invite and appeal to the masses. While there is mystery in symbolism, upon reflection we see invitation.
Jesus never said “Follow me, I will make you ministers of churches”. In the calling forth of the disciples to be “fishers of men, ” these fishermen were busy doing their job after experiencing Jesus, but weren’t all that ready to follow him too closely. So Jesus came to them, using the language of a fisherman, and forever changing their lives. Fisherman don’t go catching, they go fishing because sometimes they actually catch something, but not always. The water changes, the bait changes, methods have to change based on where we are, fishing is never that easy.
The same quandary still remains, how can the church “catch” the millennial generation? We need to know the bait, be patient, not expecting them to jump in the boat, but pointing them in the right direction. We need to be encouraging each student that they are called and chosen to live out their Baptismal call no matter what major they choose, no matter what job they get. Do they know that they have a call to the sacred….FROM the Sacred? God is always inviting, we are the ones that look away. As people are searching and searching and searching outside, who is going to tell them that what they are looking for can only be found within? God is not something to be reached for, it is something to acknowledge at our deepest core. We must not only acknowledge that but give them the language to realize that.
The definition of profession must be changed to mean a profession of our faith, our beliefs, a profession of who we are, not something we say at Mass. Students must profess their faith with their vocation and embrace their gifts which lead to calling as they leave behind careers, jobs and professions that have no fulfillment but pay the bills. Catholics need to change the map, refocus the lens and fish around until we find something that catches on. Why is our mission as a Catholic university any different than our mission as church? To invite, unite, excite, and ignite the flame that is in each of us. We know that the language is changing but the territory is also changing, Routes are changing, roads are changing, speed limits are changing and we can’t use a map from 1975 to get from Chicago to Florida, therefore we need to update the map that is ministry to avoid being lost.
We need to build bridges from experiences to beliefs, from careers to callings, from professions to professions of ourselves, from doing to being. Then we can connect the humanity in our daily lives, to the divine that is ever present, ever in motion and ever calling us His chosen ones, inviting us, over and over, and over again into the Mystery that is God. Let us continue to be open and discuss this conversation as we constantly update the map and language on an ever changing territory that is Church.