To One Another: Simple Conversations To Restore Hope To The Future.
I feel a vocation to be fully human?
was a Brazilian and world educator who believed in people. Many
times he stated that we have “a vocation to be fully human.”
He demonstrated that when poor and illiterate people learned to
think, they could understand what was causing their poverty. Once
they understood this, they then acted powerfully to change their
worlds. His approach to education has been called a “pedagogy
of love.” But what does it mean that we have a vocation to
be fully human?
of vocation comes from spiritual and philosophical traditions. It
”call,” work that is given to us, that we are meant
to do. We don’t decide what our vocation is, we receive it.
It always originates from outside us. Therefore, we can’t
talk about vocation or a calling without acknowledging that there
is something going on beyond our narrow sense of self. It helps
remind us that there’s more than just me, that we’re
part of a larger and purpose-filled place.
Even if we
don’t use the word vocation, most of us want to experience
a sense of purpose to our lives. From a young age, and especially
as we mature, people often express the feeling of life working through
them, of believing there’s a reason for their existence. I
always love to hear a young person say that they know there’s
a reason why they’re here. I know that if they can hold onto
that sense of purpose, they’ll be able to deal with whatever
life experiences await them. If we don’t feel there’s
a meaning to our lives, life’s difficulties can easily overwhelm
and discourage us.
of a purpose beyond ourselves is a universal human experience, no
matter our life circumstance. We don’t have to be comfortable,
well-fed, or safe I order to feel purpose in our lives. Often those
in the most terrible circumstances of imprisonment or poverty are
the best teachers. How they endure tragedy and suffering gives us
the clearest insight into what it means to be have a vocation to
be fully human.
I was told
the story of a pregnant Rwandan mother of six whose village was
destroyed by massacre. She was shot first, buried under the bodies
of each of her six slain children, and left for dead. She dug herself
out, buried her children, bore her new child, and soon thereafter,
chose to adopt five children whose parents had been killed in the
same massacre. She expressed her belief that her life had been spared
so that she might care for these orphaned children after losing
African mother teaches me what it means to have a vocation to be
fully human. I believe we become more fully human with any gesture
of generosity, any time we reach out to another rather than withdraw
into our individual suffering. To become fully human we need to
keep opening our hearts, no matter what. At this time when suffering
and anxiety continue to increase, when there is always reason to
weep for some unbearable tragedy inflicted by one human on another,
I try to remember to keep my heart open.
In my own experience,
I notice that I like myself better when I am generous and open-hearted.
I don’t like who I become when I’m afraid of others,
or angry at them. There are many people whose actions anger me and
make me afraid – But I don’t like how I feel when I
respond to them from fear. At those times., I don’t feel more
human but less. I become more fully human only when I extend myself.
This is how I define for myself what it means to have a vocation
to be fully human.