“My Vocation is Love.”
“My Vocation is Love.”

“My Vocation is Love.”

These were the words I recently heard from someone quoting Saint Theresa. Being a bit of a cynic, I ever-so-slightly rolled my eyes and groaned inwardly.  

Saying, “My vocation is love” sounded to my cynical ears like the simplified version of “why can’t we all just get along” or the song “Kumbaya.”

My knee-jerk reaction was that it’s just not that simple.

But then again, maybe it is.  As I thought about it further, I realized that I needed to hear that message today…and will need to hear it again and again going forward.

The reality is that we have been given the gift of life, and with this gift, we are each in full-time ministry of glorifying God.  

And the principal way in which we glorify God is by being His hands and feet.  

And the best way to represent Him as His hands and feet is through love.  Not love in the huggy, kissy, giddy, goo-goo sense of the word.  But love in terms of commitment, in terms of Agape.

Having passed through Easter, we have heard over and again how loving Christ was to give His life for us.  And because I have been loved much, I am compelled to love as well.

And while we often have head knowledge of that vocation, love often is replaced by shoulds, oughts, rules, regulations, calendars, appointments, and general busyness.  All of that busyness is often part of how we seek to express that love – by doing our work with excellence, and providing goods and services that allow customers and employees to flourish – but ironically, love can be lost in that process.  

I begin to care more about deadlines than being present to my colleagues and seeing them.  Before I know it, I am stressed, they are stressed, and we begin to focus on numbers and deadlines only, forgetting about being present to each other; forgetting about love.  So we have to hit the “reset” button and come back to what is important.  As C.S. Lewis states, we have been made for another world, therefore the way we follow our calling and our work is going to be different than those who are not Christian.  

In DML, we teach a quadruple bottom line:  economic, environmental, social, and missional.  We are developing tools for every person in their workplace to learn how to be the church (the hands and feet of Christ in each workplace) fulfilling aspects of each of these four goals.  What does it mean to love as a taxi driver?  As a hairstylist? As a baker? As a cleaner? As an employer?  While we may have different placements for our work, we keep in mind that loving our neighbor needs to be applied with intentionality in each place.

Saint Therese’s workplace was different than most of us, but the vocation of love is the same.  She is quoted as saying the following:

Yes, my Beloved, I wish to spend my life thus… I have no other means of proving my love except by strewing flowers, that is to say, letting no little sacrifice pass, no look, no word–profiting by the littlest actions, and doing them out of love. I wish to suffer out of love and to rejoice out of love; thus I shall strew flowers before your throne. I shall not find one without scattering its petals before you… and in strewing my flowers I will sing (can one weep in doing so joyous an action?) I will sing, even if my roses must be gathered from among thorns; and the longer and sharper the thorns, the sweeter shall be my song. (My Vocation is Love! – Therese of Lisieux (pathsoflove.com)

May you move in love today, being willing to stop and “strew flowers” as God gives you the opportunity! I pray to do the same, as I spend time in Cameroon.