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What are you really doing? A Lifetime of Waking Up

Waking up to what you are really doing.

They were all doing the same thing… or were they?

A man came upon a construction site where three people were working. He asked the first, “What are you doing?” and the man said: “I am laying bricks.” He asked the second, “What are you doing?” He said: “I am building a wall.” As he approached the third, he heard him humming a tune as he worked. He asked, “What are you doing?” The man stood, looked up at the sky, and smiled, “I’m building a cathedral!”

It’s an old story that has many applications. Here I would like to share some thought about a calling in life as more than just a decision made once. Responding to a calling is actually a lifetime task of waking up to what we think we knew. We actually spend our lifetime waking up to our vocations.

Let me be personal

I once thought I understood what priesthood was about. I thought I knew what I wanted in in 1955 when I entered the seminary of the Congregation of the Mission. I thought I knew what priesthood was all about in 1965 when I was ordained. Then, after 25 years as a priest, I thought I knew more about it. Now, after more than 50 years a priest, I am realizing that I am still learning what it means.

Each year I appreciate more the words of an 81-year-old Benedictine monk, Bede Griffith, said in a television interview in his 81st year of life. “I learned more in the last year than in my previous 80.”

This is my 81st year. I hope and pray that I continue to wake up to what it means during the course of this year.

What I now understand better is that responding to a calling, whether priesthood, marriage or any other form, is a lifetime project. We spend our lifetime waking up to our vocations.

What about you?

Where are you in responding to the specific call God has for you?

Are you just laying bricks?

Do you see any further meaning to what your laying of bricks is creating?

Do you see how what you are doing is a response to God’s call to wake up to being made in the image and likeness of God and to love as the God who is love loves?

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