Last week I accompanied more than 100 pilgrims from England, Wales, and Scotland, on a pilgrimage to the tomb of Saint Peter as part of the Year of Faith. The pilgrimage, for seminarians, novices, and those discerning their vocation, was organised by the Pontifical Council for the promotion of the New Evangelisation, and included 6000 young adults from across the world. It was an impressive sight, but even more impressive was a profound sense that – close to Peter – this was a space in which these pilgrims could echo Peter’s words and say, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you”.
In Matthew 16 and John 21, the mission given to Peter by the Lord is as a result of Peter’s own confession of faith: You are the Christ the Son of the Living God; You know all things, you know that I love. So it is in the life of all Christians, that the acceptance of the Lord’s divinity and our openness to his love for us, precedes our true realisation of the vocation he has given us, and so precedes any true hope we might have for happiness. The Christian must first truly follow Christ, in order for the Lord to entrust him or her with the mission and state of life which will bring us to heaven. As others have started to say: discipleship discerns vocation.