Some people are called to get married and start families. Others are called to the priesthood or religious life. And still others are called to be celibate lay people. Each one of us is charged with asking God just what He requires of us in this life. And for so many different people, they will have many different vocations. But at the end of the day, vocational calls are all predicated on the same concept: You will find joy, fulfillment, and salvation when you give your life away.
Cale Clarke spent a segment of The Cale Clarke Show talking about sacrificial love and the ways in which giving your life away can lead to sainthood.
“Every man, whether that man is celibate or not, is called in some way to become a husband and a father, even if he doesn’t have a wife and even if he doesn’t have kids. And every woman is called in some way to be a wife and a mother, even if she’s not married and doesn’t have children of her own. That’s because whenever we love in the image of God, one of the things He expects from us is fruitfulness,” said Cale.
Married couples are called to be spiritually and physically fruitful through their apostolate and the raising of children in the Faith. But so too are celibate people called to be fruitful through their respective ministries.
Abbesses are also known as “Mother Superior” because they are the spiritual mothers to the nuns in their abbey. We call priests “Father” because they have spiritual paternity in helping other souls to be “born again”. Our physical birth is issued from our fathers and mothers but our supernatural birth is at the hands of a priest and our Holy Mother Church in the Baptismal font. Being a father or mother to those around you is the whole giving of everything you have to offer.
As Peter Kreeft says, dog fathers give dog life, cat fathers give cat life, human fathers give human life, but spiritual fathers give spiritual life. And just as fathers feed and protect their families, spiritual fathers are charged with doing the same: They feed and protect their children with teaching, with catechesis, and with spiritual direction.
John 15:12-13 encapsulates that idea of what it means to be a parent, physical or spiritual:
“This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
We recently celebrated the feast day of a saint who made the ultimate sacrifice for the people in his life: St. Maximilian Kolbe. Kolbe made it his final mission in life to imitate Christ when he voluntarily took the place of a fellow prisoner in Auschwitz who was chosen at random to be executed via starvation. Kolbe survived for 14 days in the starvation bunker, constantly praying and singing hymns. After two weeks, SS guards injected him with carbolic acid to end his life. He died uttering one final prayer.
On October 10, 1982, Pope St. John Paul II canonized St. Maximilian Kolbe and called him a “martyr of charity”. The Church officially recognized that Kolbe had found everlasting life by giving his own away. We have only to follow the example of Jesus and St. Maximilian to find that giving everything away allows us to receive the most joy.
“[Kolbe] was able to give himself as a total gift in imitation of Christ, so that another man could go home and give himself as a gift to his wife and family,” said Cale. “As the apostle John writes in the New Testament, in 1 John 3:16: ‘The way we came to know love was that he laid down his life for us; so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.’”
To find true love, to see what real love looks like, we have only to look at what it means to give everything we have.
“Love God and do whatever you please: for the soul trained in love to God will do nothing to offend the One who is Beloved.” (St. Augustine)
Tune in to The Cale Clarke Show weekdays at 5pm CT