Articles by Michael Fallon


Basic to Christianity is the belief that Jesus is the human revelation of God, and that what Jesus revealed in his actions and in his words is that God is love, which is to say that God is pouring out his Spirit over the whole of the created universe to enable every creature to fulfil its God-given potential. The Beloved Disciple expresses this by placing on Jesus’ lips the words” ‘I have come that you may live and live to the full’ (John 10:10).


The word ‘vocation’ picks this up. Every person is unique. Every person has his or her unique way of loving. God is calling each one to resist pressures whether from within or without that hinder us from finding the path that will lead to loving everyone and everything ‘with all our heart, mind, soul and strength’(Mark 12:30).


Essential to this discovery and this journey is that we be free, and, as the Beloved Disciple also says: ‘If the Son sets you free you will be free indeed’ (John 8:36). No one has ever become a saint by conforming out of fear. Paul knew this and wrote passionately about it in what may be his earliest letter, written to the young Christian communities in Galatia. He spoke of those who were ‘spying on the freedom we have in the Messiah, Jesus, so that they might enslave us’(Galatians 2:4). He went on to say: ‘For freedom the Messiah has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery’(Galatians 5:1). He was referring to the pressure being brought upon them in God’s name by followers of Jesus who saw conformity, not freedom, as the way to find security (salvation).


When we reflect on the wonderful truth that God is love and that we are made in God’s image, the importance of our learning to love becomes obvious. God does not control. God loves. And God’s grace is always there, inspiring us to dare the journey of love. To speak of ‘vocation’ is to speak of the call to find and follow the path where each of us can discover the best way to give ourselves to others in love.


There is a lot we have to let go if we are to undertake this journey: we have to let go whatever is inhibiting love, however precious it may be.


It is obvious that most people find themselves through a partnership, significantly the partnership of a committed love. There are people all around us whose lives together witness to this truth.


However, since the beginning of Christianity there have been those who have experienced a call to love in the way Jesus loved, even to his choice ‘for the sake of the kingdom’(Matthew 19:12) to live without a sexual life companion. Paul is an early example (1Cor 9:5). He even wished that ‘all were as I myself am’, but he recognized, of course, that ‘each has a particular gift from God, one having one kind and another a different kind’(1Cor 7:7). He could see that there is no freedom in living a ‘single’ life, if it means that we fail to mature, that we fail to learn love, that we fail to ‘live and live to the full’.  Down through the centuries, and today, we see examples of people who have matured into great lovers, through their commitment to Christ and to the Christian community and its mission as ‘single’.


No way of loving is better in itself than any other way. Each of us is called (inspired, graced) to find the best way we can grow and mature so as to offer our unique way of loving, so that we can all say, with Saint Paul: ‘I live no longer I; it is the Messiah who lives in me. The life I live now is the life of sharing in the faith of the Son of God, who is loving me and giving himself for me’(Galatians 2:20).


There are numerous stories of vocation in the Hebrew Scriptures: one thinks of Abraham (Genesis 12:1), Gideon (Judges 6:14), Samuel (1Samuel 3:4ff), Isaiah (Isaiah 6:8). There are always two features. The first is that the call comes from God. The second is that the one called is listening. Nowhere is this more beautifully expressed that by Luke in the call of Jesus’ mother, Mary (Luke 1:26-38). The initiative comes from God who asks her to open herself to his love. Her response: ‘Let it be done to me according to your word’.


Happiness lies in daring the journey of love that God invites us on. Whatever the path we take, may we be able to say with Jesus: ‘The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what is pleasing to him’(John 8:29).