"Light to See, Strength to Want to," article in La Estrella de Panama, Panama City (September 20, 2018)

Be not afraid; from now on you will be a fisher of men.” With these words, Christ changes Simon’s life and this fisherman from Galilee now knows what he is living for. Like him, every person faces this question sooner or later: what is my mission in life?

Next week, the Synod of Bishops will reflect in Rome about “Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment.” Besides asking the Holy Spirit to enlighten the Synod Fathers, let us take this occasion to reflect on our own path, since we all have a divine vocation: we are all called by God to union with him.

The faith is a powerful light, capable of illuminating a person’s future and inspiring desires for a fulfilled life. At a moment in life when perhaps childhood securities come crashing down and the light of faith can also seem to weaken, each person needs to remember our deepest truth: that we are children of God and have been created for love. God makes the most radical call of all. He calls each and every one of us to be completely happy at his side. The Creator does not throw us into life and then forget about us. When creating us, he loves us and calls us. Therefore the discernment of our own path in life needs to be illuminated by faith in God’s love for each one of us.

Be not afraid, Jesus says to Peter. “Do not be afraid to listen to the Spirit who proposes bold choices,” the Pope writes in his letter to young people to announce the Synod. Each one’s personal search can generate a kind of restlessness as we experience the “vertigo” of freedom. Will I be happy? Will I have the strength? Will it be worthwhile making this commitment? But in these moments God does not leave us alone either. He will inspire us if we are ready to listen to him. As we ask him each time we pray that most beautiful prayer: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”: thy will be done in me, in you, in each one of us.

Thinking about so many young people who would like to follow God’s plans, we ask that they not only receive light to see their path but also the strength to want to unite themselves to the divine will. We can be helped by realizing that when God asks us for something, in reality he is offering us a gift. We are not the ones doing him a favor. It is God who illuminates our life, filling it with meaning.

May both young people and adults realize that holiness, far from being an obstacle to accomplishing our dreams, is in fact their fulfillment. All our desires, all our projects, all our loves can form part of God’s plan. As Saint Josemaría reminds us: “Charity lived well is already holiness.”

The Christian life does not involve identifying ourselves with an idea, but rather with a person: with Christ Jesus. For faith to illumine each of our steps in life, besides asking ourselves “Who is Christ for me?” let us also consider: “Who am I for Christ?” Thus we will discover the gifts God has given us that are directly related to our personal mission. And then an interior attitude of openness to the needs of others will gradually mature in us, and we will know how to put ourselves at the service of everyone, and see with more clarity the place in the world that God has entrusted to us.

In a society that often thinks too much about well-being, the faith can help us to raise our eyes to a higher reality and discover the true dimension of our own existence. If we are bearers of the Gospel, our passing through this world will be fruitful. And the whole society will without doubt benefit from a generation of young people who ask themselves, with faith in God’s love for us: What is my mission in this life? What mark will I leave behind me?

Romana, n. 67, July-December 2018, p. 265-266.

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