THE MESSY BUSINESS OF "VOCATION"
”But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel (τοῦ εὐαγγελίου, of the good news), so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.” (Phil 1: 12-14)
St. Paul’s decision to follow his “vocation” or “call,” to follow Christ, led the Apostle to much pain and isolation, even unto imprisonment and “chains.” As Carl Jung wrote about the whole messy business of following one’s “vocation,” which he considered an essential part of “the development of personality”: “The words, ‘many are called, but few are chosen’ are singularly important here, for the development of personality from the germ-state to full consciousness is at once a charisma and a curse, because its first fruit is the conscious and unavoidable segregation of the single individual from the undifferentiated and unconscious herd. This means isolation, and there is no more comforting word for it.”
Regardless of Jung’s thought on this, however, St. Paul does offer us “a more comforting word” for the things “which happened” to him, and to many others, as a result of following and spreading the “good news” of Christ. St. Paul witnesses to us, as one who has overcome fear, and also inspired others “to speak the word (of the good news) without fear,” by having walked through the fear of following his vocation. Thank You, Lord, for inspiring us, by the “chains” of Your heroes, to share Your “good news” amidst our 24-hour cycle of often-“bad” news, and its culture of merely-human fear.