Our Unknown, God's Known
June 2012 — Vol. 1, Issue 8
Fr. Drew Gawrych, C.S.C.
The unknown. It can be one of our biggest fears in life, especially when it comes to our vocations.
The life-long commitment that a vocation calls forth from us can easily make the idea of embarking on one seem like a giant leap into the unknown. How are we to know what we will be like in 10, 25, let alone 50 years? And, if we are discerning marriage, how I am to know what my spouse will be like in 10, 25 or 50 years? Or, if we are discerning religious life or priesthood, how are we to know what our religious community or the Church will be like in 10, 25, or 50 years?
There is no way around the reality that a vocation, whatever vocation it might be, invites us on an adventure that extends beyond the horizon of what we can humanly know or predict.
Certainly, we can have an idea, even a glimpse of how a particular vocation might shape and change us – the challenges it could offer, the fears we might face, the strengths that could be developed, the hopes we might find, and the joys that might be completed.
Yet, in the end, it is still just a guess – maybe a well-prayed upon and inspired guess, but still a guess. There is no guarantee that any vocation will play out the way we envision it. And this is where fear can begin to creep into our hearts because how are we to make a lifelong commitment – “forever” … “until death do us part” – to something we do not fully and totally know.
We can make that commitment because of the One who is inviting us to it – God. When God invites us to a vocation, He is not rolling the dice, taking a gamble, or even making a very educated guess as to what will be best for us and allow us to best serve others. While we can never fully know what God is getting us into in our vocations, God knows exactly what He is getting us into.
God knows how our vocations will play out. God knows how they will shape us and change us. As God said through the Prophet Jeremiah, “I know well the plans I have in mind for you. Plans for your welfare and not for your woe, so as to give you a future full of hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).
Nothing then that transpires in the course of living out our vocations will be unexpected or take God by surprise. Nothing is going to leave God saying, “Well, if I only knew that would happen, I may have never invited him to this vocation.” He knew exactly the twists and turns of our vocations – even twists and turns that might prove to be totally unexpected by us, but were totally expected by God in His loving Providence – that is precisely why He invited us to them.
As St. Paul wrote, “For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He might be the firstborn among many. And those He predestined He also called; and those He called He also justified, and those he justified He also glorified” (Romans 8:29-30).
And so, like Mary and all the saints who have gone before us, we have nothing to fear of the unknown when it comes to our vocations. What is unknown to us is known to God. What through our eyes looks like a giant leap into the unknown is through God’s eyes an invitation into the known – the commitment God has known from all eternity that would lead us to the abundance of life and the fullness of joy that He promised us through His Son.
It is certainly worth the leap.
Prayer from the Tradition
Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart
(Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque)
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