Called and Consecrated

Editor’s Note: Reflection on the Mass readings for the 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B) – First Samuel 3:3-10, 19; Psalms 40:2, 4, 7-8, 8-9, 10; First Corinthians 6:13-15, 17-20; John 1:35-42. This series appears each Wednesday.

Photography © by Andy Coan

When I was growing up, we were urged to pray for vocations.  That meant to pray for more priests and nuns.  After all, they were the ones especially called by God.  The rest of us had to figure out for ourselves what to do with our lives, what school to go to, who to marry, what job to get.

This was a misunderstanding that the Second Vatican Council was determined to clear up.  It emphasized that we all have a vocation (Lumen gentium, Chapter 5).  The very first call we have is not so much to do something, but to be something.  Each one of us is called to be holy.  And holiness is not to be identified with any particular state in life.  Whether we are a student, a full-time mom, a nurse or a bishop, our daily activities furnish us with plenty of opportunities to grow in faith, hope and love.  It is the perfection of these three virtues that make for true sanctity.  Of course, there are many students, moms, nurses and bishops who fail to become saints.  Obviously then, the various activities we are speaking of are not enough in themselves to make people holy.  People have to make a conscious decision not just once but each and every day to surrender themselves, their wills and their lives to God and allow Him, the potter, to use their everyday activities to shape them as if they were clay in His skilled hands.

When we are baptized, we receive that call to holiness.  From that moment, our life is no longer our own.  “It is no longer I who live,” says Saint Paul, “but Christ who lives in me.  And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave his life for me (Gal 2:19b-20).”  Like Paul and Samuel (see I Sam 3), we are dedicated wholly to God, set apart to glorify Him in every aspect of our being, including our bodies.  His Spirit lives within us and so we become God’s dwelling place and acquire a new dignity (I Cor 1:1-3).  The biblical insistence on sexual purity comes from no prudish disdain of sexuality but rather from the simple fact that we must treat our bodies with the reverence due to God’s temple (I Cor 6:13C-20).  We have no right to allow the temple of the Lord to be used as a means for a cheap thrill.

There is something else that we all called to be – evangelizers.  In baptism and confirmation, we are anointed prophets, which means that we are to announce the Good News of the Gospel.  When Andrew met Jesus (John 1:35-42), he immediately told his brother Simon about this new prophet and introduced him to Jesus.  When John the Baptist first saw Jesus, he pointed his cousin out to his own disciples and said “behold the Lamb of God.”  The call to bring others to Jesus is not limited to missionaries or those with an outgoing personality.  The Second Vatican Council is unequivocal about it–both in deed and word, we are each called to be a witness to the fact that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, the one who fulfills all the hopes and aspirations of every person on the face of the planet (see its Decrees on the Apostolate of the Laity and Missionary Activity).

So should we stop praying for more priests and nuns?  No way!  Religious are a powerful sign to the world that holiness has to be everyone’s #1 priority.  And priests and bishops have a special call to share in the ministry of the apostles in order to equip us all for our apostolic task.

So we need to pray for those who have answered the call and pray for more to answer the call.  But, praying for vocations means more than that.  Imagine if the billion or so Christians in the world took seriously their vocation to be saints and witnesses.  I think we’d see some changes.


Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio writes from Texas. For his resources on parenting and family life or information on his pilgrimages to Rome and the Holy Land, visit www.crossroadsinitiative.com or call 1.800.803.0118. This article originally appeared in Our Sunday Visitor and is reproduced here by permission of the author.


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About the Author

Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio writes from Texas. For his resources on parenting and family life or information on his pilgrimages to Rome and the Holy Land, visit www.crossroadsinitiative.com or call 1.800.803.0118.

Raised in Italian/Irish neighborhood in Providence, RI, Marcellino D’Ambrosio never thought about being anything else but Catholic. But like other Catholic teens, his faith was the last place he looked for fulfillment. Following in the footsteps of his parents, both professional performers in their single years, Marcellino set his sights on stardom, playing bass guitar in several popular rock bands by the time he was 16. At that time he encountered a group of Catholics whose Christian life was an exciting adventure, an adventure worth living for. So he laid his bass guitar aside and embarked on a road that led to a Ph.D. in historical theology from the Catholic University of America. His doctoral dissertation, written under the direction of the renowned Jesuit theologian, Avery Cardinal Dulles, focused on one of the theological lights of the Second Vatican Council, Henri Cardinal de Lubac, and his recovery of biblical interpretation of the early Church fathers.

His writing has been published in the international journal Communio, Abingdon’s Dictionary of Biblical Interpretation, the Tablet, Catholic Digest, Our Sunday Visitor, and Catholic News Service’s syndicated column "Faith Alive." His popular book, Exploring the Catholic Church and video course by the same name (known as Touching Jesus through the Church in the USA) have been used in hundreds of parishes all throughout the English speaking world. The Guide to the Passion: 100 Questions about the Passion of the Christ, of which he is co-author and co-editor, may prove to be the fastest-selling Catholic book of all time with over a million copies sold in less than three months.

Dr. D’Ambrosio, the father of five and a business owner, brings to his teaching a practical, down-to-earth perspective that makes his words easy to understand and put into practice. Audio and video recordings of his popular teaching are internationally distributed. He often appears on the international Eternal Word Television Network is regularly heard on the nationally syndicated radio show "Catholic Answers Live." Dr. D'Ambrosio has been a guest on Geraldo Rivera, At Large on FoxNews Channel, the Bill O'Reilly radio show and Radio America's news program Dateline: Washington.

In 2001 Dr. D’Ambrosio left his position at the University of Dallas to develop the work of Crossroads Productions, the apostolate of Catholic renewal and evangelization that he co-founded twenty years ago, and to more directly oversee the growth of Wellness Opportunities Group a company dedicated to helping people improve the quality of their lives physically, mentally, and financially. He, his wife Susan, and their five children, reside just outside of San Antonio, TX.

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