The “Too” Malady: On Vocation


By Matthew Janeczko, OFM Cap.

There is a story that is told by one of our friars with great mirth:

One of the friars, upon being asked to do one thing or another would always decline, saying, “Oh, no, I’m just a poor religious.”

Another friar, after hearing his brother in religion deny all types of requests to use his own gifts and talents for the benefit of others day after day, finally snapped.

“Yes,” he shouted, “You are a poor religious!”

This story came to mind as I reflected upon today’s first reading from the beginning of the Prophet Jeremiah.

We hear:

“Ah, Lord GOD!” I said,
“I know not how to speak; I am too young.”

The story of the friar quoted above and Jeremiah today speak, it seems to me, of the same spiritual malady.   It’s what I might call a case of the “too’s” – as in, too old, too young, too spiritual, too worldly, too rich, too poor, too saintly, too sinful – the list could go on and on.

As a Christian people, we are called into relationship by God and then sent by this same God into relationship with each other.  The problem, I would maintain, both in consecrated life and married life (and any vocation one can find between them), is not that people all of ages, shapes, and sizes aren’t being called by God.  It’s not even that Christians are not listening.

I would submit instead that the real problem is the overarching, yawning sense of “too” that we all have: rather than hearing the call of the Lord and getting “to” it, we’re all too worried about being “too much” or “too little” of one thing or another.

Just a thought or two.


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