Friday, February 16, 2007

The Duties of Our State

1. Everyone finds himself in a certain position in life. He may be there either through force of circumstances or through somebody else's desire or through some secret inspiration from God. In any case, each of us is in a certain sense place, and God either wills it or permits it. We should not complain about our state in life. No matter what that state is, we can either be saved or damned for all eternity. In any position we can do a great deal of good or a great deal of evil, according to the way in which we co-operate with the grace of God. We should not envy the positions of others. This would be unjust, because it would be tantamount to questioning the arrangements of Providence, which gives everyone the graces necessary in his particular state. It would also be injurious, in so far as we should be worried and disturbed instead of working peacefully and earnestly in the place assigned to us by God.

2. Some are called by God to the lofty state of the priesthood or of the religious life. This is a very great grace. We should co-operate generously and do our best to overcome any obstacles we meet. Others are called to become good Christian fathers and mothers and to rear a family. This is a most important role, because the proper education of children and the future of the Church and of society depend on it. Every position has its obligations, which each of us should work hard to fulfil in every detail. The grace appropriate to our state will be available to us. But this grace has to be balanced by a sincere determination on our part to carry out carefully the duties of our state. Let us examine ourselves in this regard. If we discover that we have been neglectful or deficient in any way, let us resolve to put things right.

3. Let us be content or at least resigned in the position in which Providence has placed us. Let us pay special attention to those things which we are obliged to do. Anything which is not necessary should be left until later, even if it is more pleasant or seems more worthwhile in itself. Let us never become involved in business which is incompatible with our state or dangerous to our eternal welfare. Let us not make light of minor offences against the duties of our station. Smaller transgressions gradually become greater. Above all, let us try and sanctify our calling. It is one thing to work conscientiously, another to work in a spirit of holiness. Even pagans can do their duty earnestly. Doing our duty is only a help to our eternal salvation if it is done with God's grace for the purpose of serving Him, for His love and glory. This should be our manner of behaviour. If it is, we can claim to have sanctified our state in life and to have made our work holy.