VOCATIONS, DEMOCRACY AND PRAYER

Three themes converge together this weekend. First, it is the annual vocations awareness weekend, a time to renew our own vocations and help people who are discerning to be bold and generous in their response. Second, Tuesday is Election Day, on which we are called to use our intelligence and sense of goodness and justice to participate in the governance of our society. Third, it is the first weekend in November, during which we especially remember prayers for the dead. The three themes may seem to have little in common; but in fact, they are all come together with the universal call to holiness.

For the Church teaches that all people are called to holiness, which joins together heroic virtue and a pure love of God and neighbor. The Church also teaches that, now with revelation by God, all people from least to greatest can know the deepest truths of God and of humanity. When it comes to specialized abilities, such as those of a scientist, an engineer, or a professional artist or athlete, it may be that only a few can rise to the highest levels. But when it comes to living wisdom, virtue and heroic love, all people can ascend to walk with the saints.
This confidence provides a firm basis for vocational discernment, democracy, and prayers for the dead. In particular, one’s vocation (whether marriage, priesthood, religious life, single life, and the specific path in those overall callings) is the deepest way of responding to this call to heroism and wisdom, building up God’s kingdom, in a family, a parish, an order, or the society around us. And likewise, the idea of democracy, which involves not only voting but participation by all people in society generally, is based upon the idea that all people can have wisdom and goodness to contribute.

That notion contrasts with the more elitist idea that only the rare few can rise to high levels, and thus that they should govern society. But this call to heroic virtue and wisdom is very challenging and difficult to complete in this life. And so, souls who are willing to attain these highest levels, but do not accomplish that mission during this life, are purified afterward. And, particularly during the month of November, we remember to pray for them to arrive at their final homeland. Thus, in our vocations, our participation in governance, and our prayers for the deal, we progress together toward the union of all nations under the law and love of God.