Let us no longer fall into the error described by the great poet, but let us hear today the voice of Him who calls us with such love. May we be faithful our vocation as children of God.
In his sonnet What have I, that you my friendship seek? (¿Qué tengo yo que mi amistad procuras? in spanish), the great Lope de Vega,1 with his unique style that combines piety and genius, invites us to meditate upon the call that God makes to each one of us.
“What have I, that You my friendship seek? / What interest, O my Jesus, moves You, / that, dew-bedecked at my door, / You spend the dark winter nights?
As we read this poem, written over four centuries ago, we are prompted to meditate on a God who, with insistent and patient gentleness, knocks at the door of our soul. He wants to be our friend, but is often faced with hearts of stone, attached to fleeting things, unable to transcend to encounter their Lord. His call often meets with the icy rebuff of those who close their ears to the voice of the vocation.
What is this call? How does it manifest itself, and what is its importance?
It is madness for us to choose to close our ears
The word vocation comes from the Latin verb vocare, which means to convoke, to call. God invites all men to holiness, but gives each human being an individual and irreplaceable vocation: to reflect the light of the Creator in a unique way, and to give Him a specific form of glory that no other creature can give Him.
However, we do not always seek to follow this vocation; instead, we often try by every means to flee it.
“How hard I was within my deepest core,/ to never let You in! What strange madness,/ if by my ingratitude, the cold ice/ dried the wounds of Your pure feet!”
It is indeed strange madness – I venture to say complete insanity – to deafen oneself God’s call. Such an attitude stems from the false idea that, by doing our own will, we will obtain happiness in this life, which, closely examined, amounts to nothing more than a series of fleeting satisfactions born of egoism and caprice.
So, deceived by our concupiscence and by external agents that lead us to perdition, we descend madly to eternal death, proclaiming that we are free, when, in reality, we have become wretched slaves of our passions and of the father of lies.
No one has a vocation to mediocrity
How different would it be if, instead of asking ourselves, “What do I want to do with my life?”, we would ponder, “What is God’s plan for my life?”
We will find true happiness if we do the will of God: “Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well” (Mt 6:33). If we make holiness our goal, a beautiful horizon will unfold before us. What once seemed to be the purpose of our lives: the dense and chaotic undergrowth of materialism, the idolatry of money, fame and vile pleasures, which obstructed our progress and shrouded our goal, will all disappear. Then the way to spiritual perfection will become clear, enabling us to contemplate the glorious summit of the mountain of holiness, which is total surrender to God.
The climb is sure to be a hard one. No one finds it easy to ascend the ramp of his own calvary! But the help of divine grace will not be lacking, especially if we turn to the Mediatrix of all graces. Besides, we will be comforted in contemplating the magnificent vistas that faith and hope will unveil to the eyes of our soul, and we will feel the supreme consolation of drawing ever closer to the Divine Redeemer.
Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira commented that “no man is created for a dull or mediocre destiny. He may not be eminent in the eyes of other men – that is something different – but he is called to Heaven, and in Heaven nothing is mediocre. Heaven is a palace of a King, where everyone is a gentleman, and, accordingly, where everyone was created to be a star, to shine for their great worth of soul.”2
And Heaven is only earned by those who know how to be mountaineers of themselves and wisely employ holy intransigence against their own weaknesses.
“I Myself will be your reward”
The master Lope de Vega finishes: “How often the Angel said to me: ‘Soul, stand at the window now, / see with how much love He calls again!’ / And how often, O sovereign Beauty, did I respond / ‘I will open tomorrow,’ only to tomorrow respond the same!”
Let us no longer fall into this error, but let us hear today the voice of Him who calls us with such love. Let us be faithful to our vocation as children of God and to our specific vocation. How foolish we will be if we do not open to Him! How much we stand to lose!
Let us also learn to hear the voice of our Guardian Angel and of so many other good counsellors God sends to point out the way that leads to Him. Failure to do so makes us easily deserving of eternal punishment!
And if we feel that we lack the necessary strength due to our many shortcomings, let us confidently turn to our Heavenly Mother. She will give us strength to overcome the obstacles, open the door for us and lead us to her Divine Son.
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me” (Rv 3:20). And what will be our recompense? The Lord answers us: “I Myself will be your reward exceedingly great” (Gn 15:1)
Author: Santiago Jesús Rodríguez
1- A key figure of the Spanish Golden Age, Félix Lope de Vega y Carpio (1562-1635) was one of the most prolific poets and playwrights of history. His numerous literary works include three thousand sonnets, and hundreds of comedies.
2- CORRÊA DE OLIVEIRA, Plinio. Conference. São Paulo, April 23, 1973.