St Donatus

Bishop of Fiesole (near Florence, Italy) (entered heaven 874)

Dear Donald,

I am glad that you continue to pray about your vocation.  At least that shows your awareness that God has a mission for you in this life.  That in itself is a formidable blessing – so many people go through life thinking that it’s just up to themselves to invent some kind of meaningful existence.  Nevertheless, I detected a certain unhealthy anxiety in your last note. You don’t need to know everything right away. You know already what God’s will is for you today and tomorrow (the faithful fulfillment of your current duties), and you have begun to follow the steps of prudent vocational discernment (that Web site is, as you say, an excellent resource in this regard).  Now all that remains is for you to follow through; worrying won’t make God act any faster. If it’s any consolation, today’s saint will at least remind you that your vocation, whatever it is, is truly YOUR vocation, reserved for you by God.

Donatus was an Irish pilgrim who made his way to Rome out of devotion and penance in the ninth century (penitential pilgrimages were popular back then – I wish they still were).  On his return trip he passed through the small hill town near the Arno River called Fiesole (close to today’s Florence). It just so happened that on that day the people and clergy of Fiesole had gathered to choose a new bishop.  They were in the church fervently imploring the Holy Spirit to guide their choice when the humble pilgrim, a small man, poor and soft-spoken, entered the sacred building. He would have gone unnoticed among the crowd, except that as soon as he crossed the threshold the bells began to ring of their own accord and all the lanterns and candles spontaneously burst into flame.  All this caused quite a reaction among the pious Italians, and they took it as a clear sign from God that Donatus was the Holy Spirit’s choice for bishop. He served the Church with dedication and distinction, and he always had a special place in his heart for pilgrims.

You may not receive such dramatic signs in your process of vocational discernment (though you may – don’t count them out, anyhow), but you can rest assured that even though the whole path isn’t clear to you now, God knows exactly where he’s leading you.  Just keep going, one step at a time.

Your devoted uncle, Eddy

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