The Call Within a Call
God calls each of us...
What is the call that God is giving you that no one else in the world can possibly fulfill?
The most important day of my life was June 24, 1979. Can you guess what day it was? It was not the day I was born, it was the day I was baptized. It is the most important day of my life because I gained eternal life (although my mother tells me the most important day of my life was the day she was born). It was the greatest gift that God could give me: Eternal life. For all of you, the most important day of your life is the day that you were baptized.
"Why", you ask?
On the day you were baptized, you received your primary vocation, your first vocation. Does anybody know what vocation you were given on the day that you were baptized? You were called to be what? I'll give you a hint: a four letter word (a good word) that starts with "H". Yes, "Holy." On the day that you were baptized, you were given the call to be Holy. I looked this up in the Catechism. You are called not only to the vocation to holiness, but to be on a mission of evangelizing the entire world (I actually learned something new!) On the day that you were baptized, you were called to be holy and to go on mission and evangelize -to give the gospel of Jesus to the entire world. That is your primary vocation. It was given to you on the day that you were baptized.
Our secondary vocation is what all of us live at some point in our lives. There are four of them. What are they? This is the clue for the first one, it's my vocation -my vocation is to priesthood. A second one would be marriage, the third one is single life, and the fourth is religious life.
Within our primary vocation, we are called to be Holy. Out of that, God calls us to a particular vocation. That particular vocation could be marriage, it could be the single life, it could be religious life, or it could be the priesthood. It is important that all of us find our particular vocation. How is God calling us to live out that holiness in the world?
In Amos 7:12-15, Amos is being called to be a prophet. He is not understanding this, and neither is Amaziah. Amos says, "I was no prophet nor do I belong to a company of prophets. I was a shepherd and a dresser of sheep and sycamores. The Lord took me from the following flock, and said to me, 'Go, prophesy to Israel.'" And then we hear in the Gospel canticle from Ephesians, "May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of your hearts, that we may know what is the hope that belongs to our call." That we may all know what the hope is that belongs to our call.
And finally in the Gospel (Mark 6:7-13), "Jesus summons the twelve and begins to give them authority, and sends them out two by two." He summons them. I looked up "to summon" in the dictionary, it means: to authoritatively or urgently call someone to something to be present. So we all have our primary call; Baptism is to be Holy. We all have our secondary call, which is our call to the priesthood, to be religious, to be single, or to be married. But the amazing thing is that once you find your particular vocation, the work is not over yet!
Mother Teresa said that we have a call within a call. Within the priesthood, within married life, within single life, within religious life, -within that call, we have a very particular call that we can live in a way that no one else can live. God has given us each unique charisms to live out our call.
Mother Teresa was born on August 26, 1910. She was baptized several days later and received her First Communion at age five and a half. She was Confirmed in 1916. At Baptism, she received her primary call to be Holy. However, from her First Communion Day, she had this other call, this special call to religious life.
Mother Teresa was eight years old when her father died. This changed a whole dynamic in her family. It opened her up to entering into religious life at a very young age. At 18 years old, she entered the convent and went into religious life. Her original name, by the way -- Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu. That was her original name before she entered into religious life. When she entered the convent, they gave her the name Sister Mary Teresa after Thérèse of Lisieux. That is how she became Mother Teresa.
When she took her final vows in 1937, she made her final profession -she journaled that she now was finally the spouse of Jesus for all eternity. She found her vocation and she lived this religious life. She went on to serve the community, and she loved it. Then something very interesting happened to her. About 10 years later, she was making her annual retreat. Every year she would take a train ride and she would make a retreat. And on this train ride, she received a very special calling from God. She actually heard a voice in her head, and she wrote this in her journal, "Come be My light".
She said about this call, "It was a vocation to give up even Loreto, where I was very happy, and to go to the streets and to serve. It was on this day in 1946, in that train to Darjeeling, that God gave me the call within the call to satiate the thirst of Jesus by serving Him and the poorest of the poor."
On that day she was given a call within her call. She actually had to ask the Bishop permission to leave the order that she had been with for 10 years in order to serve the poorest of the poor in the streets of Calcutta. She found this vocation within a vocation. She still was a sister, but she found a special way of living it out. And before she knew it, all these people wanted to help her. And now, years later, we have the Missionaries of Charity. They are in every country of the world, and there are about fifty thousand nuns in the order. We also have Saint Mother Teresa, and it is all because she discovered her call within a call.
And the truth is, each and every one of you has a call within a call. Firstly, the call to become Holy and to evangelize the world, which you received at Baptism. Secondly, if you are married, single, religious, or a priest, you received that secondary call. That is a call that you never have to discern again. It is for life. And finally, there is a call within a call. There is a way that you are going to live marriage that no one else will. There is a way that you are going to be a wife or a husband that no one else will. If you are single, there is a way that you are going to live your single life that no one else will. And if you find your call, it is going to change the world.
I want you to think about that for a moment.
What is your call within the call? What is the call that God has given you that no one else in this world could ever possibly fulfill? Because He calls each of us, not only to be Holy into a particular vocation, but He calls us and gives us this call within a call to truly reach out to the rest of the world. And sometimes that may mean doing very different things than we ever thought we would do!
Just as Amos said, "I was no prophet nor do I belong to a company of prophets. I was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores. The Lord took me from the flock, and said to me, 'Go, prophesy to my people Israel.'" Ultimately, we all have this call within a call. And when we discover it, our lives will be even more joyful and wonderful than we can ever imagine. Not only will it transform our lives, but when you find your call within a call, it is going to change the entire world!
I invite you to pray about that and to ask Jesus what He is calling you to do within your life, with your vocation, and with your call within the call.