Called and Known by Christ
The human person is an amazing combination of elements: body, emotions, mind, spirit. The unifying element holding all this together is the human soul, the life force of our body and the source of the deep recesses of the human heart. In the Miles Jesu vocation to the consecrated life, like in any vocation, the whole person is involved – all the elements.
When God calls someone to this way of life, he calls the whole person. Jesus said to the disciples, “Come and follow me” (Lk. 18:22). Those whom Jesus calls are given a mission to grow in conformity to his very own person: to imitate his virtues and to “put on the mind of Christ” (Rm. 13:14, 1 Cor. 2:16).
As consecrated laymen and women in the world, part of our vocation is to bring Christ to others in the world, so that they, too, can know the love of God through us. When Jesus called the first disciples, he knew whom he was calling. In the gospel of St. John, Nathaniel asks our Lord, “How do you know me?” (Jn. 1:48) Our Lord knows us because he created us and because he sees our whole life in one instant.
An important part of living the vocation to the consecrated life and bringing Christ to others is knowing ourselves as God created us. In this sense, an understanding of psychology can be useful. While it would be naïve to imagine that the science of psychology has the final word about following Christ, it is important to understand that psychology can serve as a help in the formation process of individuals in the consecrated life if used correctly.
For example, it is important to look at how we interact within community, both among our brothers and sisters in Miles Jesu, and among our colleagues in our work and studies. Are we aware of those around us? Are we open to those around us or closed? Are we too open? Do we tend to stand with others or against them? Such questions not only have importance for fulfilling our mission of bringing Christ to others, they also raise questions about our ongoing formation, our mission of becoming more like Christ in an interior way.
Do all of the difficulties that we face in our journey of becoming Christ-like have a spiritual solution? Not necessarily. For example, praying more is not the direct solution for a psychological condition that causes problems for others and hinders our progress toward perfection. Sometimes outside psychological help is required.
No man is an angel, following God’s will purely with his intellect and will. For us humans, grace works hand in hand with a healthy, human psychology. When our Lord calls a person to the consecrated life, his divine plan includes lifting up and ennobling the entire being of the consecrated person, including their emotions and attitudes.
The consecrated person meets Christ especially in prayer. While neglecting our prayer life is a fault of character, at the same time a lack of understanding of our own human emotions and feelings, and how they can become more Christ-like, can cause us to become spiritually blind toward others and to develop an imbalanced approach in our prayer lives.
Just as our Lord knew us completely when he called us, we too can know ourselves as Christ knows us and loves us: body, emotions, mind, and spirit. This knowledge will help us to better respond to Christ’s call, “Come and follow me” (Lk. 18:22).
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