He chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world,
that we should be holy and blameless before him.
He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ,
according to the purpose of his will,
to the praise of his glorious grace
which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
(Eph. 1:4 - 6)
All of us, every single person, has a vocation. Before the foundation of the world, before we were formed in the womb, God chose us and created us with a particular, unique plan in mind. All of us have our own personal place in God’s purpose for the world, our unique voice in the great symphony of praise. Nobody is superfluous. No one can be exchanged for another.
God chose Mary and created her in a way excatly fitting to the task he had in mind for her in the plan of salvation. God prepared her and made her capable of freely responding to the call that was to be sent to her. Not because she had done anything to merit it - she didn’t even exist at the time - but as a gracious gift, according to the purpose of his free will, out of love for her and for all people who, through the child she bore, themselves became children of God and had love and glory bestowed upon them.
God’s call to us is a call to become the person we are created to be, to live where we are meant to live and do what we are meant to do. It is the way we are meant to walk on our journey towards the moment where we can at last stand before God holy and blameless. It is also the gift we are meant to give the community of our brothers and sisters. When one is called and chosen, it is always with others in mind. By accepting and living out our vocation, we give our unique contribution to the whole, that which we are created to give.
Our vocation is truly an expression of God’s love for us, God’s mercy. God does not ask us to go against our nature or our deepest identity. He calls us to that which he created us for. He wants our joy to be complete and that we have life in abundance. God wants us to answer his call freely and in love, as it is given freely and in love.
Grace from the same merciful, loving God raises one person up time and again after frequent falls and failures, and preserves another from any stain of sin from the moment of conception. Maybe we can dare to say, then, that all of us, in the company of the Virgin Mary, Matthew the tax collector and Pope Francis, can enter into this Jubilee of Mercy gathered around the motto of the latter:
Miserando atque eligendo.