Remote Control

By Father John Donovan/ SUN contributing writer
Growing up, the first remote control in our house was my brother, the youngest sibling. “Check channel eleven, see how the Yanks are doing; check channel nine grandma will ask about the Mets.” Being an older sibling I had those unexpected perks, I should not exert myself to walk to the television and do the mundane task of turning the dial! Many of us distance ourselves from some of the lesser tasks of life, whether we hire it out, ignore it hoping it will go away, or expect others to do it for us.

My most recent remote control puzzles me. I thoroughly utilize the remotes of my television and other media equipment, but sometimes they do become cumbersome and I will just go to the machine. However, my newest, I am still trying to figure out not how it works, but why it exists. I had to replace my car radio and the new “stereo” has a remote control. How far away from the dials am I going to be? I am not on the couch when I am driving! Have we become that bourgeois that it is too mundane to extend our right hand? Please, do not try to tell me it is for safety, one more thing to drop and look for on the floor, cannot be safe. Do we expect something or someone else to do our simplest of tasks?

Is that the view of our role in the Church? Does it become someone else’s responsibility to live out our baptism? Living out our baptism entails asking and reflecting on what God’s call is in our life. That is, we all have a vocation, do we except others to fulfill it for us?

First, is marriage, something most assume will happen in their lives. A wedding takes place, but do we engage and work each day at the vocation in fulfilling the sacrament as it is God’s call? The marital relationship, the call, is to be reflective of God’s love for each individual within the bond of the couple. One person cannot have the control of the remote, it is a shared effort of partners to see and act in that love, not to keep it beyond an arm’s reach.

When it comes to consecrated life or orders, do we just assume someone else will do it? Is it possible that we think it is too far of a reach for ourselves and that others will do it for us? Is a vocation to orders or consecrated life something we can encourage others to do, as another vocation is being lived out? Parents, grandparents, siblings, peers, let’s be honest with ourselves, what is our role in encouraging vocations to religious life and diocesan priesthood, or even contemplating it.

We can not expect the Church to be controlled by remote control, beyond an arm’s reach. By baptism, it is our obligation, to pray, to speak and to act in response to God’s call, our vocation in our lives. Support one another, invite one another, challenge one another to accept and live their vocation. Get up and turn the dial!

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