If you were brought up on superheroes and sci-fi, and if you were brought up Catholic, then you probably have an excellent understanding of destiny. You knew from an early age, or at least suspected, that there is something special about you, and that you have a particular role to fulfill in this life. You were born for something great.
Every hero knows, sometimes from within and sometimes because they were told, that there is something that they, and they alone, must do for the salvation of the planet. Superman, Luke Skywalker, the various Green Lanterns, Spiderman—pick a hero—they have an understanding that the power they have been given saddles them with a responsibility to change the course of history. They didn’t just grab their tights and go for it, though. They struggled, hung out in quiet solitude, engaged in a discernment process with people of better understanding and let their calling grow in them until they were ready to find their opportunity to strike out.
If you’re Catholic, you were told that, too. You were told first in your Baptism, and then if your teachers were at all worth their salt, they fleshed it out for you. In our Baptism we are anointed to be Priest, Prophet and King because that’s what Jesus was, and we are baptized into His mission. In fact, the ritual text says, “He now anoints you with the chrism of salvation, so that, united with his people, you may remain for ever a member of Christ who is Priest, Prophet and King.” We are pretty much born into it, and even live it as babies because we are a reflection of God’s love just by being, but it takes a good long time for the meaning to unfold. We need struggle, solitude, discernment and opportunity to be ready to live it.
On one hand, as Catholics, we all have the same destiny, and on the other hand, in our uniqueness we all have particular destinies. To be priest is to minister to everyone God puts in front of us; to care for their needs, to pray for them, to sacrifice ourselves for them. To be a prophet is to speak the Word of God to everyone who needs good news. We speak truth and love—and those things originate in God—so we speak God’s own words to others. We are kings because we are King’s kids. My Dad can totally beat up…well…any other Dad. To be the King’s kids means that we live in real freedom—actual freedom. We have absolutely nothing to be afraid of if we’re working for Him. Bad stuff will still happen, but since we belong to Him, we’ll always have the strength and healing to accomplish whatever work He has for us. Being a king means that we inherit heaven with Jesus. That’s every Catholic’s basic destiny.
The specific gifts that God gives to each one of us, and how we choose to use them, determines our particular destiny. It could be to be a parent, or a teacher, or a friend, or a sanitation engineer, or a soldier…or anything. It could be a lot of different things over time. It could be the difference in someone’s life because of a moment of kindness and dignity that you offered to them. But, it’s all service. It’s all sacrifice. It’s all ministry. And it’s what we’re all called to. It is our destiny.
How do you see your destiny unfolding? Who is your Jor-El, Uncle Ben or Yoda that helps you to discern it? What are you opportunities to live out this destiny?