Fr. Daniel Evbotokhai
Customarily, women gain their greatest joy and sense of accomplishment from being wives and mothers. They have always appreciated their mandate from God without contest and with all submissiveness. In recent years this drive has been weakened by feminist movement that has perfectly influenced many women to neglect these divinely ordained responsibilities. As a matter of fact, this is not just happening in the society but also in the Church thereby paving ways for unhealthy rivalry, confusion, and debate. In the creation account of Genesis, God’s first word on the subject of men and women is that they were equally created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). In Genesis 2, there is a more detailed account of the creation of the two equal human beings that reveals differences in their God-given functions and responsibilities. This paper is not set out to address feminism that is contentious in most scientific papers; but it desires to examine God’s call for women reflectively. We shall rely basically on the Scripture and Church documents for our inspiration.
Call is one of the many biblical terms that are usually misinterpreted. People hear echo or see themselves given invitation card in a dream and they term it a call. Some regard hallucination as a call to special service; while other who suffer from high fever and see a very beautiful city claimed to have been to heaven. High fever cannot be God’s high call. The Word of God describes several kinds of calls; but then, they are being categorized into three major blocks. They are: General call, Effectual call, and Technical call – a call to a particular vocation in life.
1. The General Call
God gives the General call to every creature on earth. We are all called to turn away from our sins and to turn toward God and His plan for our salvation. This is the fundamental prerequisite for the performance of any Christian service. We are all called to live according to God’s law; we are all called to a life of service to God and our fellow man. Generally, Christians are called to Christ, to follow and obey Him. He made that clear when He said to His disciples, “If anyone would come after me he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me (Luke 9:23).” The call to follow Jesus Himself is the ultimate call on our lives. This call is an invitation given to all by God to accept salvation in His kingdom through Jesus Christ.
2. The Effectual Call
Many Christians believe that there is also an effectual calling. In the effectual calling, the Holy Spirit improves upon the general call and makes it effective unto salvation. Those who respond to Christ in faith are the recipients of this effectual. The effectual call is understood as God’s sovereign drawing of a sinner to salvation. The apostle Paul refers to the effectual call when he writes, “It is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose” (Philippians 2:13). The necessity of the effectual call is emphasized in Jesus’ words, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44). Jesus said, “For many are invited, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). In this statement, Jesus distinguishes between the general call that everyone receives by hearing the gospel and the effectual call that leads to salvation.
3. Vocation or Technical Call
This call is related to one’s life’s work. The Lord bids each one of us in all life’s actions to look to his calling. He has named various kinds of livings “callings.” Therefore, each individual has his own kind of living assigned to him by the Lord as a sort of sentry post, so that he may not recklessly wander about throughout life.
God frequently called people to Himself and to His work. In Gen. 12:1-9 Abraham was called to leave his home and to travel to a place of promise. In Rom 1:1 Paul was “called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ”. This kind of call to carry out a specific assignment is what may be termed God’s high call or Technical call. It is otherwise called a vocation. The root word for vocation is vocare, which is Latin for “to call.” God has created each one of us for a particular calling or way to follow Him. It is a call by God to an individual and more specifically to the priesthood, or to the religious life, married life and single life.
Ten steps to know your call
- You must have a personal relationship with Christ
- Pray for guidance from God
- Pay attention to the gifts and talents you’ve been given by God
- Pray before the Blessed Sacrament for guidance
- Seek advice from a priest
- Receive the sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation
- Know God, know true peace
- Look to Jesus as the model for all decision making.
- Be involved in the life of your parish
- Contact your vocation director
Vocation to Married Life
For the Church vocation is seen from various dimensions: married life, single life, religious life, and ordained life. Amongst these, marriage is less emphasized as a vocation or high call. So, for the purpose of this paper we shall focus the married life. Pope Francis writes: Marriage is a vocation, in as much as it is a response to a specific call to experience conjugal love as an imperfect sign of the love between Christ and the Church. Consequently, the decision to marry and to have a family ought to be the fruit of a process of vocational discernment (Amoris Laetitia n.72).
It is important to mention that your vocation is not the same as your career or profession. Your marriage is not a career or a profession. That is why you cannot just switch out of marriage as if you are switching job opportunities. A profession is something that you have in order to support yourself and to contribute in some way to the good of the society. A profession has a horizontal dimension; while a vocation has a vertical dimension, which is God. It is no longer ‘what do I prefer?’ but rather ‘What is God’s will for me?” Therefore vocation entails the submission of your will to God. Every woman is called to submit her will to God in the husband, the same way a priest submits his will to God in the Bishop.
You have no other higher call outside the will of God for you. It is in this call that your purpose is fulfilled. Eve was created to be the helpmate to Adam, meaning that this is the purpose for the creation of woman. This is the special call God has given to every woman. This is the primary call of a woman. All other roles of the woman result from the effectiveness of being the helpmate God so ordained. There is no higher calling and no greater task than working with your husband to make your union work and raising children for God. God created Adam and Eve but has now ordained couple to continue this task creation. You must be a helper to your husband. Your roles as a wife, mother at home and other added assignment in church or society is knowing what God expects of you which will make your role as wife and helpmate most fulfilling. Mother Teresa once said “if you want to change the world, go home and love your family.” Of what relevance is your peculiar assignment in the Church when your God given vocation has gone on vacation?
to be continued