together in love out of desire and sodiscover their vocation as a married couple. Out of desire a husbandand wife create a child and discovertheir vocation as parents in this way.
Desire works in a similar way in thelives of the saints, drawing them tocertain types of works, giving riseto special vocations and leading toparticular styles of holiness. HenriNouwen became a priest because hedesired it. Thérèse of Lisieux enteredthe convent because she desired it.
Dorothy Day entered the CatholicChurch because she desired it. Ultimately, one’s deepest desires leadto God and the fulfillment of God’sdesires for the world.
That insight lies behind one ofmy favorite passages in The SevenStorey Mountain. Shortly after hisBaptism, Thomas Merton is speaking with his good friend Bob Lax.
Merton tells his friend he wants to be
a good Catholic. “What you should
say,” says his friend in reply, “is that
you want to be a saint.” Merton tells
the rest of the story:
“A saint? The thought struck
me as a little weird. I said: ‘How do
you expect me to become a saint?’
‘By wanting to,’ said Lax, simply. . . .
‘All that is necessary to be a saint is
to want to be one. Don’t you believe
God will make you what He created
you to be, if you consent to let Him
do it? All you have to do is desire it.’”
Following these individual
desires and inclinations led each
of the saints to a distinctive type
God awakensour vocationsprimarily throughour desires.
God in different ways. Such desiresaffected not only what they did butwho they became—their true selves.
These natural inclinations areways in which God accomplishes hiswork in various places and in a variety of modes. When I was studyingtheology, our Jesuit community hada small poster hanging in our livingroom that offered this little sayingabout four great founders of religiousorders:
Benardus valles,Colles Benedictus amavit,Oppida Franciscus,Magnas Ignatius urbes.
Bernard loved the valleys,
Benedict the hills,
Francis the small towns,
and Ignatius the great cities.
Each of these four saints found hishome in a place suited to his likesand desires and so was moved toaccomplish his own particular task.
Their individual desires shapedtheir vocations. Ignatius Loyola, forexample, the founder of the Jesuits,would probably have felt his ambitious plans stymied in a small town.
And Francis of Assisi, the apostle ofthe poor, would certainly have gonecrazy trying to run a large religiousorder from a busy office in Rome!
Desire can lead to God
God awakens our vocations primarily through our desires. A manand a woman, for example, come
Code #163 VocationNetwork.org Community Search