“I led them with cords of compassion,
with the bands of love.”
- Saint John Paul II Vita Consecrata (§17)
It is not uncommon to find in our hearts suspicion towards things we find attractive, especially when we are trying so sincerely to seek the will of the Lord. This misgiving is understandable and we ought to have a healthy suspicion towards what might be simply a base attraction rooted in the flesh. We need to have a discerning heart in these matters and yet resist being rigid by giving ourselves permission to be drawn by the Lord.
I was impressed by the words of St. John Paul II saying that our response is not only to a call but a call that is accompanied by an interior attraction. Do I find in myself, in the interior man, an attraction to belong exclusively to the Lord? This is an essential question to ask. I think that the dynamic of attraction is quite amazing, especially when we recognize that it is the Lord who is drawing us to himself. Several times in the document Vita Consecrate JPII makes reference to the tremendous beauty of the Lord, in one such instance he calls those who are consecrated to the spiritual path of philokalia (love of divine beauty).The beauty of the Lord is without match, in fact all created beauty is only a reflection of His eternal beauty .
How is this related to a vocation to consecrated life though? This is my own reflection on the matter, but I am speaking from experience. Whenever I find something beautiful I feel attracted to that thing, be it music, art, a building, a landscape, a person…there is a draw, a desire to know more. I think this draw comes from finding consolation in beautiful things, and what this feeling of consolation says to me is that I belong here, I am home here. As the scale of beautiful things goes up the Lord is at the top, and so in finding the Lord beautiful (and in him revealing his beauty) I feel most at home, I can say I belong here.
I think this is why interior attraction accompanies the call, we recognize the beauty of the Lord (which is attractive) and allow ourselves to be drawn by Him to Himself. After some time spent pursuing the Lord, hopefully, if it is your vocation, what will emerge is the conviction to belong entirely to Him.
“One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.” Psalm 27:4
God Bless each of you!