In My Father's House

Poems, Prayers, Inspirations, Photos and Musings about life, love and what it means to be a child of the Father

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Is there Such a Thing as Predestination?

Last night, together with some Jesuit scholastics, nuns and diocesan seminarians, we were invited to share our vocation stories with some youth of the Immaculate Conception Parish in Cainta, Rizal. The group where I belonged composed of about twelve youth, with age ranging from 10 to 21. We have with us some mother butlers and a host family (Tito Toti, Tita Zeny and Zei).

One mother asked me, what particularly struck me as an impertinent question: Do you believe in a pre-destined vocation? I didn't know how to go about it but felt I had to give the lady some answer to her honest question. Personally, I believe that there is no such thing as pre-destination. But the lady and another one insisted that there is, there must be. They argued that when God desires you to become a priest or a nun, even though you don't like it, there is nothing that you can do.

I tried explaining them that vocation is a dance of two freedoms: God who does the calling and the called who can either answer positively or refuse the invitation. But the ladies were getting hot on the topic, saying that this was what was taught to them. I wanted to tell them that they were wrong but I knew that in this context, I was not going to win. So I let them have the night. I disagree with the ladies because I do believe that God, no matter how powerful or noble His intentions are, will not coerce people into submitting into His will.

The Bible is filled with stories of hesitant heroes and prophets. Yet none of them were forced into accepting their roles. God called but they had the option not to heed Him. And so was the Blessed Virgin. She was chosen from all women, but it was her yes, her fiat, that finally won us our salvation. She was not, so to speak, pre-destined to fulfill a role she did not herself like.

Dance of two Freedoms. God calls. We hear the call. But it is up to us whether to heed that call or not. God is so generous and understanding and so free as to give us that choice whether to accept His love or not. This is difficult to understand. I, myself, am trying to comprehend the great mystery of my vocation. Why does God, for example, continue to preserve me, continue to bless me and take care of me despite my weaknesses, my sinfulness and infidelities towards Him? Am I pre-destined to fulfill a role He arranged from the beginning of Time? Should I fail Him, will He take it against me? Should I turn out a bad prophet or shepherd, will God blame Himself for it?

Are the two ladies pre-destined to pose their question to me? Am I pre-destined to disappoint them with my answer? Frankly, I do not know. But there is only one thing I know: we are all pre-destined, or pre-ordained, to spend Eternity with God the Father but just like a truly loving Father, He leaves the choice to us whether to accept this or not.


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