St Victor the Hermit

(entered heaven in around 610)

Dear Vicky,

I heartily commend your sincere concern to choose your first post-graduation activity with an eye to “whatever will do the most good for the Church.”  If only all Catholics approached their life decisions with the same mentality! Nevertheless, your evaluation of the different options available to you leaves something to be desired.  

As you discussed the relative advantages and disadvantages of job opportunities, volunteer positions, the consecrated life, advanced studies, et al, you never once mentioned God’s will.  It’s as if you are trying to figure out all by yourself what will most notably glorify the Lord, instead of asking him directly. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t advocate that naïve approach by which many young people sit back in the comfort their own pursuits and “wait for a sign” (in fact, most them ignore the many obvious signs that God is constantly giving them), but neither do I advocate the other extreme.  It’s difficult for us to evaluate the good that can be done by a particular course of action, and so we have to draw very close to God, asking him what he would have us do, trusting that he has a mission for us, and courageously following the lead he gives to our heart. Take for example today’s saint.

Victor was born in northern France and exhibited remarkable piety at a very early age.  His greatest loves, even as a youth were prayer, fasting, and serving the poor. He was ordained a priest but knew that God was calling him to a life of solitary devotion, and accordingly retired to a lonely outpost in the region of his birth, where he passed the rest of his life (no one knows exactly how old he was when he died).  God rewarded him with special graces of mystical contemplation and with the power to perform miracles, but the most amazing thing about this holy hermit was the power of his example. Like ripples in a pond, conversions and growth in devotion emanated from his hermit’s cell throughout the entire region. He wrote no books, he did not preach, he held no influential office, and yet God brought countless souls into the state of grace through his fidelity to his life’s mission.  

So I would be careful about making decisions solely on what you happen to judge as “a preferred option.”  Rather, combine such important reflections with humble and courageous docility to the will of God as he reveals it to your heart.

Your loving uncle, Eddy

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