Any person who's serious about their spiritual life ... does look to the cross for inspiration
by Gretchen R. Crowe | Source: Catholic News Service
Mark Horn mingled among hundreds of young people in an auditorium full of
priests and women and men religious, the words he had just heard from Father
Robert J. Barron cascaded through his mind.
It is through God that true
happiness can be found, Father Barron told Horn and an auditorium full of
English-speaking pilgrims during a vocations fair sponsored by the U.S.
Conference of Catholic Bishops at St. Francis Borgia Parish in Madrid Aug. 17,
part of World Youth Day activities.
Father Barron, who runs the
Chicago-based Word on Fire ministry, was "spot on," said the 24-year-old Horn of
the Diocese of Rapid City, S.D.
"I thought the talk was what a lot of
young people need to hear," Horn said. "There's no illusions. The way to
happiness ultimately is about God and not me and does require
"Any person who's serious about their spiritual life ... does
look to the cross for inspiration," he added.
Horn was not alone in
grasping Father Barron's message that each person is called to a vocation in
life that requires putting God first and ego second.
Stephen Yang of
Arcadia, Calif., said the priest's talk opened his mind to a new way of thinking
about a vocation.
"The word vocation was always obscure to me," he said.
"I would hear it and think it means priesthood or consecrated life, something
other than being married or single. But now I know fully that it includes both
single and married life."
Yang said the day's events inspired him to seek
out regular eucharistic adoration when he returns home so he could continue to
discern his vocation.
The fair began with exposition of the Eucharist and
prayer with Boston Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley. Activities unfolded throughout the
day and included a concert as well as opportunities for young people to mingle
with religious women and men.
Father Barron stressed to the young people
gathered the importance of distinguishing between the "ego drama" and the "theo
drama" -- between putting self first or God first. He recalled St. Thomas
Aquinas, who suggested the four primary ways that people choose themselves over
God are wealth, pleasure, power and honor.
"Everybody in this room has an
ultimate concern," Father Barron said. "If it is anything other than God, your
life is disordered, your life is off-kilter and you find yourself within the
context of the ego drama."
Vocation, he said, is about finding the place
where a person can worship God alone, devoid of all
"Vocation is all about finding that place and erecting the
altar to the true God alone," he said.
Once free of the attachment to
wealth, pleasure, power and honor, "you are ready to become a conduit of the
divine life," he said.
Father Barron suggested that the faithful use the
image of Christ on the cross as an example to follow and as a reminder to let go
of the things of the world.
"Love what he loved," he said. "He loved
doing the will of the heavenly Father. Because he's free ... that's why he's
able to respond to the divine will. The exact same thing's true of you."