The Vocation of All Living Things

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Editor’s Note: Today, we welcome new contributor Mary Sharon Moore to our CatholicMom.com family! Mary Sharon is a noted author and the founder of Awakening Vocations. I look forward to learning from Mary Sharon’s posts and thank her for joining us! LMH

From where I sit on this Sunday morning, beside the picture window looking out onto the dense green canopy of bigleaf maple and white oak, as dapped sunlight falls from a clear blue sky, I see a fresh crop of chickadees. Their song irrupts into praise as they flit from perch to perch. They are so fully what God designed them to be—chickadees, and their chickadeeness fills me with joy.

With this I begin to pray the psalms of Sunday Morning Prayer, psalms of all creation singing praise to the Creator. In bursts of praise volleying forth from these psalms and canticles the Church celebrates the right ordering of life and of all creation in the risen Lord Jesus. All that exists points to him, gives innate and irrepressible praise to the Lord of Life, and draws life, breath, grace, and meaning from the risen Christ.

This “right ordering” of humankind and of all creation is vocational to the core. Consider these lines from the psalms of Sunday Morning Prayer: “Praise God in his holy place, … / O praise him with sound of trumpet, … / Praise him with timbrel and dance, … / Let everything that lives and that breathes / give praise to the Lord” (Psalm 150); and this beautiful line from Daniel 3: “Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord, / praise and exalt him above all forever” (v. 57). And the universal call to praise: “Praise the Lord from the heavens, … / Praise him, sun and moon, … / Praise the Lord from the earth. … / all earth’s kings and peoples, … / Let them praise the name of the Lord / for he alone is exalted” (Psalm 148).

St. Paul writes: “[He] is the firstborn of all creatures / In him everything in heaven and on earth was created. / … All were created through him; / all were created for him. / …In him everything continues in being” (see Colossians 1:15-17). All richly vocational language.

French Jesuit theologian Père Teilhard de Chardin has a beautiful phrase in his essay, “Cosmic Life,” in Writings in Time of War (1968), “Lord Jesus, you are the center toward which all things are moving.” This phrase speaks to the inescapably vocational trajectory of our anointed Christian life and of the life of all creation. In Eucharistic Prayer III (Roman Missal, 1985) we hear this brief yet lovely phrase: “Father, you are holy indeed, / and all creation rightly gives you praise.” (In the Roman Missal, Third Edition, the phrase reads: “You are indeed Holy, O Lord, / and all you have created / rightly gives you praise.”)

The human spirit is most fully itself when it renders wholehearted praise to God, in its being and in its actions. St. Irenaeus observes: “The glory of God is the human person fully alive.” Yet poet David White wisely cautions: “We are the one part of creation that can refuse to be itself.” The psalms of Sunday Morning show the fruit of faithfulness to vocation. Jesus’ vocation was to reveal his Father and to invite us into that intimate relationship, and to show us how to faithfully, obediently, and fully participate in it. He was frequently cornered, harassed, and finally executed because he would not back down from his claim of intimate relationship with God whom he dared to address as Abba, Father, nor from his equally unthinkable claim that every person is invited to share in this relationship, everlastingly.

In his nonviolent acceptance of his arrest, death sentence, scourging, and bloody execution, Jesus showed us what adherence to vocation demands—a costly refusal to back down from what you know is true: that you participate in an unbreakable bond of love with God which is expressed in your life, your work, your relationships, and in all you cherish, a bond expressed throughout all creation.

Copyright 2011 Mary Sharon Moore, M.T.S. 

 

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