Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.
That’s the way I look at many of the apocryphal stories about saints, so it doesn’t bother me if St Francis didn’t actually write the prayer of St Francis, or if the following is only “attributed to” Pedro Arrupe:
Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love and it will decide everything.
Often read as a schlocky romantic platitude, the last line, read in light of those which precede it (and in light of the fact that it was from a celibate, speaking to celibates), contains a truth known deeply by those of us who follow a vocation in our lives.
I’ve never been convinced that my “vocation” is the same as my job. If a vocation is that-to-which-I-am-called, then it includes so much more than my profession (or in the case of a singer-conductor-teacher-writer, my professions). It’s my whole life, every decision I make by listening to the voice of God in my heart.
And I find that voice of God through love. When my heart catches fire with passion for a project, when I am moved to tell someone they matter to me, when I answer yes to another commitment because I see the potential for new life through it, that is God’s voice directing me.
This is not the same as sentimentality, as butterflies or giddiness. It’s a crazy, consuming love that on our best days we surrender to even though it may take us places we never planned. It’s a conviction that guides us even when the world says we’re foolish. And it’s an irreplacable feeling of “right-ness” about the world and our places in it, one that once tasted, ruins you for all other satisfaction.
So once we fall, we stay, if we can, in that quiet absolute way entranced by God and delighted to live our lives guided by the call of Love.
How has Love guided your life?