For Heaven’s Sake, Make Up Your Mind!
It took a while for the renowned opera tenor, Luciano Pavarotti, to discern his vocation. When he was a boy, his father, a baker, introduced him to the wonders of song. He urged him to work very hard to develop his voice. Arrigo Pola, a professional tenor in his hometown of Modena, Italy, took him as a pupil. But Luciano also enrolled in a teachers’ college. When he was graduating, still undecided, he asked his father, “Should I be a teacher or a singer?”
“Luciano,” his father replied, “if you try to sit on two chairs, you will fall between them. For life, you must choose one chair.”
So, he chose one. It took seven years of study and frustration before he made his first professional appearance. It took another seven years to reach the Metropolitan Opera. And eventually he was able to put it in his own words: “Whether it’s laying bricks, writing a book – whatever we choose – we should give ourselves to it. Commitment, that’s the key. Choose one chair.”
In the Gospel this weekend we hear Jesus rebuking the scribes and Pharisees for their lack of commitment and faithfulness to God’s commandments. In all the examples he gave, he reminded them what they should or shouldn’t do: “You have heard that it was said…”. But, nevertheless, they tried to “interpret” God’s words to their liking and justify their actions. Jesus was clear, “Let your ‘Yes’ mean ‘Yes’, and your ‘No’ mean ‘No’” (Matthew 5:37). If you want to follow God’s path, you have to make up your mind and wholeheartedly commit.
As we discern our way of life, our vocation, we listen to God’s calling. Sometimes it is loud and clear; but most of the time it is whispering with small steps toward full discovery. Whatever discernment takes, it eventually brings us to the point when we have to make a decision. It might be the moment when you pick up that engagement ring and ask the question, “Will you marry me?” It might be the moment when you pick up the application package from the Vocation Director to begin the formation process. It might be the moment when you purchase a ticket to go on the mission trip.
Whatever our vocation is, it requires our commitment, and for our “Yes” to be decisive and meaningful. It’s the moment we choose one chair! So, for heaven’s sake, make up your mind!
By Jarek Pachocki, OMI
OMI Lacombe Canada – Vocation Director