It requires a staggering amount of courage and perseverance for people to discover and embrace God’s plan for their salvation.
Yet, the Lord always provides.
Father Christopher Aubuchon, diocesan vocations director (https://diojeffcity.org/vocations), drew extensively on Scripture and the inspired teachings of the Church to bring that lesson to live for hundreds of young people at Sixth Grade Vocation Day.
The annual event, sponsored by the diocesan Vocation Office and held this year on May 1, reinforces for sixth-graders from throughout the diocese and their adult chaperones, God’s plan for their fulfillment and eternal salvation.
In his homily at Mass, Fr. Aubuchon pointed out that God creates each person in His own image and likeness and therefore desires for each person to have a place in His eternal Kingdom.
“Every soul is offered eternal life, freely from God,” said Fr. Aubuchon. “This means that every person is called to be a saint, because every soul is called to be holy, because every person is called to be with God in His fullness in heaven.”
That foundational truth of the Church is known as the Universal Call to Holiness, and it is a gift to every person God creates.
Each person also receives at baptism a particular vocation.
“This vocation is the unique way each soul is called to follow God in this life, so as to be with Him for all eternity in heaven,” said Fr. Aubuchon.
Those particular vocations are: Holy Priesthood, Consecrated Life and Holy Matrimony.
The Holy Spirit bestows the gift of courage, which each person needs in order to open his or her heart to God’s will and ask Him to reveal one’s own vocation.
That vocation “is what will bring you the most joy in this life, that which is the best, most perfect and most genuine way to come to eternal life,” said Fr. Aubuchon.
He pointed to the courage consistently shown by St. Joseph, husband of the Blessed Mother, in becoming the foster father of Jesus.
“It took courage to take Mary as his wife and become the protector of Jesus and Mary,” the priest noted. “This was the main work that St. Joseph was called to — his vocation.”
It also required tremendous courage for Jesus’s Apostles to accept becoming martyrs for the sake of proclaiming the faith to all people.
Fr. Aubuchon shared the story of St. Peter fleeing from persecution in Rome but noticing the risen Jesus carrying His cross back toward the Eternal City.
Peter asked, “Quo Vadis?” — “Where are You going?”
“You can almost hear Jesus saying to St. Peter’s heart, ‘Do not be afraid,’” said Fr. Aubuchon.
“St. Peter heard Jesus call him to follow Him once again to the cross — but this time it was to his own cross, offered in union with Jesus’ cross,” he said.
Peter, who had once run away from the cross of Christ, turned back this time and embraced his own cross, with Jesus, at the end of his life.
“My dear brothers and sisters, this took incredible love and great courage,” said Fr. Aubuchon. “And guess what: St. Peter would do it all over again if called upon to do so.”
The priest pointed out patient Jesus remained with each of the men who would become His Apostles — accepting them where they were, building them up from there and calling them to truly become “Fishers of Men.”
“Jesus acts toward us with the same love and patience as we open our hearts to His Holy will for our lives, and gently walks with us to help us realize that His will is what will fill us with joy in this life and will bring us to Eternal Life,” said Fr. Aubuchon.