and the choices that you make will shape your life forever.”
-A Bronx Tale
I cannot count the times in my life where I have felt lesser in the spiritual sphere because someone “outshined” me. I often thought the Church was so boring, homogenous. I felt suppressed, and like I was being asked to be someone I just was not. Recently, I had a shaky experience with a church-affiliated organization, where I felt completely displaced, unheard and unappreciated. I even contemplated my course of study. Having just returned from 3 months abroad, away from everything familiar and with an abundance of solitude, this situation struck a raw nerve. Where am I going? What is God calling me to? And how much of what is being said and done is a reflection of my identity and place in the Church and how much is pure politics or misunderstanding?
Theology is my passion, and the Church is something I believe in firmly. I hope to one day build a career around bringing my skills and ideas to this institution. But I was doubting myself. I knew that all of this could not be a matter of my inadequacy in the eyes of God. So why did I feel like someone took a garden hose to the fire burning inside me? Luckily, it only took a sit-down with one of my most respected professors to kick-start me again. He reminded me of my skills, talents, and charisms, and that they differ from person to person; and mine are certainly no mistake.
These every day scenarios can chase some of the most passionate youth away from the areas they may be called to enhance or reform. The New Evangelization calls us to recognize the need for every type of person. It’s what makes us communal. How is evangelization, family life, or any other cosmopolitan activity possible with only one personality type allowed? It isn’t. Christifideles Laici speaks powerfully to this, clarifying that each and every forte and ability is valued:
“They are not called to abandon the position that they have in the world. Baptism does not take them from the world at all…He entrusts a vocation to them that properly concerns their situation in the world.”
For some reason, so many of us are scared that what God calls us to must be the most gruesome and displeasing situation. I find myself constantly asking God “PLEASE DO NOT CALL ME TO A, B, OR C!” the kicker; of course, being that God isn’t out to make my life miserable… I’m called to act in accordance with the talents and abilities I have.
So, if God calls us to use our skills and capacities to better and bring to order the world, what happens when institutions or governments begin to inhibit this? Pope Benedict stood before Parliament and defended our right as people of faith to keep our faith alive in our careers and all decisions following. As head of the Roman Catholic Church, one would assume that perhaps he wants to make sure "his own" are being heard, but it seems he contends that anyone with a well-formed conscience is inherently free and bound to follow it. We expect that our leaders will lead us toward good will and prosperity. Working toward any noble cause is not easy. However, if we allow God into our lives solely for our personal missions and hardships, why are we not surprised that we do not receive the same guidance and grace outside? We must seek it. And to seek it, there must be freedom, and even encouragement, to do so. What better time to let God back in? We may be pleasantly surprised by the Spirit’s ability to emerge through the cracks of brokenness, and allow us a deeper-rooted ethical cause.
 Himes, Michael J. Doing the Truth in Love: Conversations about God, Relationships, and Service. New York: Paulist, 1995. p. 47
Angela Chiappetta is the Program Development Associate for the Catholic Apostolate Center.