Besides her story of heroic self-sacrifice, one of the most endearing moments of St. Gianna’s life that I will always remember is that when picking out fabric for her wedding dress, she told her sister, “Do you know, I want to choose the most beautiful material because afterwards I would like to make a chasuble from it for the First Mass of one of my sons.”
This quote reminded me of how important it is to discern God’s will in one’s life, specifically to say “yes” to His call, to the vocation in which He desires me to serve Him. In conforming my will to His, in answering His invitation to love in the manner that He chooses, I can best glorify my God and walk the path that is most suited to lead me to heaven. For what is at stake is not only my soul, but the souls of many others.
In following your vocation, you are becoming the person that God has created you—from the very moment of your conception—to be. God, however, does not make our decisions for us. We must choose, and the choices that we make today, particularly in regards to our vocation, have have an effect on countless others.
As a religious sister or brother, there are people dying who need your comfort, young students who need to be formed academically and spiritually, and the poor who need your help to survive.
As a contemplative nun, there are people, many hurting people, who need your prayers and sacrifices.
As a deacon, there are people in crisis, engaged couples preparing for marriage, parents who desire baptism for their newborns who need your guidance and blessing.
As a priest, there are sinners who need you to hear their confession, dying people who need you to administer last rites, and starving people who need you to give them the Bread of Life.
As a husband or wife, you have a spouse who needs your help to get to heaven, and, if it be God’s will, your love may bear fruit in children who would not have been born but for the fact that you said “yes” to your vocation.
Now, since it was the Feast of St. Gianna Beretta Molla yesterday and Good Shepherd Sunday today, I thought that it is quite apropos to post this reflection of St. Gianna on the topic of vocations.
“Everything has a specific end: everything obeys a law. God has shown each one of us the way, the vocation, and the life of grace that lies beyond physical life. Our earthly and eternal happiness depends on following our vocation without faltering. What is a vocation? It is a gift from God–it comes from God himself. Our concern then, should be to know the will of God. We should enter into the path that God wills for us, not by “forcing the door,” But when God wills as God wills….”
The vocation to marriage is somewhat unique because it depends on another person saying “yes” to his or her vocation. So, St. Gianna was able to follow God’s call to serve Him as a wife and mother because her husband, Pietro Molla, also followed God’s will in his life. This is most evident in his love letters to his wife, including the following one that he gave to Gianna the night before their wedding which accompanied special wedding gifts of a gold watch and pearl necklace.
“Gianna, let these crown the wonder and the brightness of your beauty and your virtues on our wedding day. May the watch always mark the loveliness and most peaceful times of our life, and may this pearl necklace be a sign of the enchanting light of our love. They are given to you, with great affection, by your mother and my mother, and by your Pietro with the greatest love.”
[Photo: The pic of the chasuble made with fabric from St. Gianna’s wedding dress (a 2nd class relic!) is from All You Who Hope]