What if you lived your whole life for a false “you”?

by Consecrated Life, Faith & Life, Self-Knowledge, Vocation, World's View

Catholic-link.com – What if you worked  your whole life and, on the day of your death, you saw for the first time that you weren’t doing what you were supposed to? That you worked for someone else, for a false idea of who you are? The video, narrated by Alan Watts (who I am not promoting), offers an opportunity to raise some important questions and could be especially useful with youth who are discerning their vocation or taking those initial life-defining steps.

A deeper look: 

We worry about efficiency, productivity, results, and success, but we don’t worry so much about the most basic issue of all: identity. How can I answer the question, “What should I do?” if I haven’t first asked the question, “Who am I? Who has God made me to be?”An interesting way to discern the answer to these questions is to ask ourselves, “What is it that truly makes me happy? What is it that I could do for the rest of my life and be fulfilled?”


For myself, I remember the year that I dedicated to doing retreats with Catholic youth after high school with a program called NET Ministries. Every day was comprised of prayer, apostolate, and community life with the other members on the team. I recall looking at myself and the life I was living and saying, “I could do this till I die and not regret one day of it.” With that realization, I decided to begin a path of serious discernment of the priesthood, instead of studying business.

Dedicating our lives to anything besides our authentic vocation is stupid and a waste of time, a life-time. I ask, “What’s the point of money?” Money is a means that allows us to buy, to access, to initiate; money gives us “the ability to.” But, if we never know what we really want, what’s the point of having all the abilities in the world? Please understand, I am not against business or making money; that would be naive. Still, when we spend all of our focus, energy, and talents in gaining more “power,” more “ability to,” we are destining ourselves to failure and frustration.

Element to consider:

–       The criteria that Watt proposes is “doing what you like to do” and what it is “doesn’t really matter.” It’s important that we understand our desires in the context of a Catholic vision and of the Plan of God in all of our lives. Our desires can be signs of God’s call; however they can also be misleading if not correctly interpreted and understood.
–       This discernment is best done with others, especially with others who have more experience. Spiritual and vocational directors aren’t just for those discerning religious vocations. We all need help to discover who we are.
–       Discovering a vocation doesn’t happen from one day to another. Evidently there are moments of greater or lesser clarity. Nevertheless, it’s a continually renewed path of listening to Christ and engaging in a continuous dialogue of friendship, in which one can discover who he or she is and what to do.  Each day we are invited to understand a bit more our vocation and live it out with greater faithfulness.

Accompanying Bible verse:

–       The calling of Mathew in Mathew 9.
–       The calling of Jeremiah (Jer 1, 1-11).

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