(Taken from the Naming Grace Newsletter of Rumah Formasi Sto. Tomas Aquino)

Religious vocation is a calling from God to vowed life. He wants us to work as harvesters in His vineyard. There is need and urgency in the call since the harvest is plenty, but the laborers are few. Moreover, he chooses us, not we choosing him. Unless he calls us, we cannot do anything in his vineyard.

Basically, how are we supposed to respond to God’s call? What must we do first? What is required of us above all? It is simple. We must decide to follow him. That’s it! But the tricky thing is that we must decide to do his will with a very strong and solid commitment. What kind of commitment is it? It is a commitment without excuses!

Jesus made this clear when he categorically said that we either say “Yes” or “No”, anything else in between comes from the devil (Matthew 5:37). “You are either hot or cold. If you are lukewarm, I will vomit you” (Revelation 3:16). “Yes Lord, I will follow you. But let me bury my loved one first,” said one of his disciples. “No. Let the dead bury the dead” (Matthew 8:21-22). “Anyone who does not leave father or mother or brothers and sisters for my sake is not worthy of the kingdom of God” (Luke 14:26). What does Jesus Christ mean by these declarations? Put simply, he wants us to follow him truthfully and faithfully without a single reservation! We must stay focus all the time and refuse to be distracted even by logical and convenient excuses.

This sounds hard and difficult or even cruel and impossible for those who are used to making excuses. “Ya, I know. The meeting is set at 10 AM. But the traffic was so heavy, so I am late. And besides, it is only 2 minutes past 10. I am only few minutes late, right? So, it’s ok! The others were 15 minutes late. Others are even absent. But I am present! So, it is ok! I am alright.”

No. It is not ok. A true decision is one that accommodates no excuses. 99% is not good enough! It is difficult and almost impossible at the start. But in the long run, it will make easy and meaningful the following of Jesus. This is the only true way to follow Jesus. This is the narrow way, the way of the cross, the way of the Calvary.

By Br. Joseto Bernadas Jr., OP

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