CATHECHESYS TO THE YOUNG OF THE GALLIERA VICARIATE
VOCATION: WHY AND HOW TO LIVE?
Cinquanta di San Giorgio di Piano, March 12 2009
Dear young, this evening I would like to help you think about your life from an important point of view. When I say 'your life' I mean to refer to your days: school or work; friendships or fun; your moments strictly religious in your parish church. In short, everyone thinks to her/his 'standard day', how it is from the morning to the evening.
I am sure that, sooner or later, you have asked yourselves questions like: what am I going to do after school is finished? Has what I am doing got a sense?
An animal doesn't ask itself these questions, because it lives, but it doesn't know that it lives. You, not only live, but you know that you live. And especially you want to live not an ordinary life, but a good life.
I am going to open a little parenthesis. When is a clock a good clock? When it doesn't mistake to tell the time, as the clock is made for that. When do eyes enjoy good health? When they allow me to see well, as that is the function of the eye. And.. when is life a good life? When is the life I live one of good quality? The answer is very simple: a clock is a good one when it doesn't mistake to tell the time; eye is a good quality one when it allows me to see well; life is a good one when it is lived reaching the aim for which it exists. And we have now arrived to the decisive matter: what is the aim for which each of us exists?
1. The most common answer nowadays is the following: the aim is what everyone decides it is. In this sense we speak about 'self-determination'. In accordance with this view, when you project your life - project of life and aim for which to live correspond - you exclusively surrender to yourselves. It’s like if you werre tied to your loneliness: everyone lives for himself, S. Paul would say.
Dear young, if this answer is the one you give yourself, it is a real devastation of your humanity. Try and think about it for an instant.
As far as you are concerned, has Hitler's life the same quality as the one of Mother Teresa from Calcutta? Indeed both have accomplished the project of life that each of them had given to themselves. And if, as I am sure, none of you makes a comparison, it is because there is no need of reasoning too much to understand that the value of life doesn't depend exclusively on the realization of the project that one proposes her/himself. But it depends on the quality of the project itself.
I will make an example. If the project of a building is bad drawn; if computations are wrong,once the building has been built, it collapses. If you give your life a project which is not good, your life is boundt to collapse into nonsense. In the end you are left empty-handed. So it is not only a fact of self-determination.
2. We have arrived to the second decisive matter: who is the author of a good project for my life?
Let's start looking for the the answer from a very basic observation, nearly banal: none of us was born upon her/his decision. The life you live is not the result of a decision of yours: anyone has asked you the permission to make you exist. Are you a fruit of case? Are you an accidental result of impersonal elements? I conceive that, at this moment, you are thinking of your parents. Actually they are not the final explanation of the fact that YOU exist. They didn't want YOU: they wanted a baby. They made conditions for giving birth to a new person, their child. But they didn't decide, nor could decide WHOM she/he was.
Dear young, think deeply about this momentous fact; everyone will end up to ask himself: WHO wanted me? and WHY did the one who wanted me want me? At this point we can listen to two important biblical voices: Ger 1,5; Gal 1,15.
The reason of your being here is that God himself has thought of you, has wanted you. In a word: He has created you. As He always acts with wisdom, He wanted you having a project on you. So, the project of your life has not to be invented, but more simply discovered. This is the real key that opens the door of happiness: living in accordance with this project. 'And why get worked up so much, when it is so simple to obey?' (P. Claudel, The announcement to Maria)
When a baby is baptized this big truth is exactly expressed, that is central in the biblical Revelation. The one who has initiative to make us exist and to form an alliance with each of us, is God and not man. It is God who chooses the person - the baby who is baptized - and not the person who chooses God. One of the greatest catholic writers of last century, Ch. Peguy, writes: 'Singular mistery, the most mysterious. God has preceded us... It's a miracle. An everlasting miracle, a miracle in advance. God has preceded us, a mystery of all mysteries. God has begun'. (Il portico del mistero della seconda virtù, Jaca Book, Milano pag. 222-223).
3. I have finished. I would like you to go away from this cathechesis with a certainty and with a great joy.
A certainty: none of us exists for a case. Everyone says in her/his heart: 'God has a project on me. I can't, I have not to disappoint Him'. In other words: everyone has been called; it is a vocation.
A great joy: my life, anything it happens, has got a sense; it is worthy of being lived; it is something of extraordinary and beautiful to God.
La traduzione, non rivista dal Cardinale Caffarra, è di Stefania Floridia.