if I do not fulfill
my heart’s vocation,
–St. Thomas Aquinas
(Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West translated by Daniel Ladinsky, p.144)
Love and More
This quote is the third stanza of the poem Otherwise the Darkness by St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274). His soul’s purpose, stated in the second stanza, is to love. However, wouldn’t part of any soul’s purpose be to love? I think it is. Therefore, the third stanza is less self-evident and more subtle than it first appears. It implies more than “If I do not love, I suffer.” However, that is meant as well. St. Thomas Aquinas was a brilliant Roman Catholic theologian. It was his love, his life, his vocation.
Follow Your Calling
So if you do not practice your vocation, you suffer. “For instance, a woman artist dreams that birds are confined in a large wooden box and will die unless they are set free. An artist in the dream releases the birds by doing her painting. This suggests that, outside the dream, the dreamer’s spirit will die if she stops painting” (Listening to The Rhino: Violence and Healing in a Scientific Age by Janet O. Dallett, p.9). It seems that not practicing your vocation could have dire consequences.
Refusing to follow your calling may result in daily deaths of the strength of your passion. You may gradually lose your zest for life. You will definitely suffer. The cure for this kind of suffering is to follow your calling.
Photo Credit: Photo by QThomas Bower at Flickr Creative Commons.