CAREERS AND SAINTHOOD
What started off as a curiosity for animals and nature through books and stories in the Bible has now turned into one of my greatest passions. I remember moments from my childhood when I would go around trying to bring home all the street cats and dogs. I recall waking up early mornings to catch my favorite shows on ‘Animal Planet’ and ‘Discovery channel’. Those exciting moments of a butterfly climbing out of a chrysalis and spreading its wings for the first time or the first green leaves on barren winter trees in springtime, brought me so much joy.
Those peaceful and vivid memories of awe and wonder left me pondering on what a wonderful artist our God is! These things seem so trivial and yet when we really think about them, we realize why God intentionally paused and reflected on what He had made and why He delightfully said, “It is GOOD.” Indeed, it is so good to experience God’s goodness each day, if only we take time to see. Even when we are blinded or too preoccupied, the common graces of nature make this world beautiful because they point all creation to the Author of Beauty.
From Interest to Passion
‘Why did you choose to become a vet?’ I have been asked this question multiple times. There are a couple of reasons. The first one definitely stems from family, especially my dad. His love for fish, birds, plants and many other creatures instilled in me passion and compassion for animals.
I also love the way the Bible paints and portrays nature and all the creatures of the earth. As a child, I would love to flip through the story on Noah’s ark and try to picture that scene where animals big and small, climbed aboard together with Noah and his family. Other times, I would escape into my creative wonderland imagining how Our God could create millions or rather, billions of unique and fascinating species of animals and plants that continue to be discovered even to this day.
A defining moment of my life however, came as I stood on the threshold of pursuing a direction for my future. It was around this time that I came across Saint Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. It was so timely because his life story spoke of the familiar zeal and compassion I resonated for the natural world. Though he led a life of poverty, he never focused on lack but found plenty of reasons to consider abundance in and through creation. He even called them brothers and sisters. The great saint would preach to animals and nature and cared for them as if they were his own children. I realized then that I had such a narrow view of purpose and sainthood. I realized that I was segregating my career from my passion, seeing them both as separate worlds. But my career was entwined in the spiritual and my passions were tools to bring God glory.
Drawn to the light
St. Francis went from a turbulent childhood, pursuing pleasure, prestige and possessions, to ultimately a life of peace, love and charity. In all those years of wandering where He pursued knighthood or followed after worldly passions, it was just a matter of time till he realized he was only chasing after shadows. He was lost in that attractive darkness. But never too lost for the True Light, who pursued him, calling him out of darkness into His marvelous light and placing within him, a fulfilling call that brought forth peace and joy.
I relate so much to the life of St. Francis. Although I don’t live in an era of knights, I too started off my college years pursuing momentary happiness. Halfway through, while I was frolicking about running after things that I thought were righteous, I was brought to this great saint’s conversion from self-glorification to God glorification, from momentary pleasure to everlasting peace, from darkness to igniting fire within.
The weight of his words, “Above all the grace and the gifts that Christ gives to His beloved is that of overcoming self” echoed aloud within me.
Despite all my fears and failures, I am now convinced that the greatest gift God has given us is the strength to stand back up and return to the Father.
Acknowledging the wrongs and shameful sides of myself was surely not easy, but through it all I discovered a God who is greater and above all of my weaknesses. The life of St. Francis of Assisi has served as a continuous reminder of selflessness and strength.
Journey towards Sainthood
For a long time I believed that my talents and possessions were insignificant and could never contribute anything to the Kingdom of Heaven, but I was wrong. Everything in my life has unfolded according to God’s plan. My skills and passions, no matter what they are or how worthless they may seem to the world, are made to be instruments of the Lord.
Through them I learned to sing St. Francis’ ‘Lord make me an instrument of your peace, where there is hatred let me sow love…’. This is exactly what we are called for. This is what I am called for.
My spiritual life and my career are not separated, they are integrated and interconnected with God’s plans.
I am called to be an instrument of peace everywhere I go. And so are you. Your choices for career are not just about money or status or a comfortable life. They are about service. They are about fulfillment.
If you are weighed down today with shame or perhaps aching to find purpose for your life, I encourage you to turn to the lives of some great saints that show us how to live extraordinary lives through ordinary everyday examples. From patrons of workmen and students to those of coffee and shopping, as Catholics, we have the privilege of following in the footsteps of great men and women who proclaimed the greatness of God simply by the way they lived and worked. Nothing done for God is ever wasted. Your passions, your careers, your ambition are worthy instruments through which God Himself desires to make Himself known to the world.
Wherever you are is holy ground. So give your career to the Lord. Live Sainthood. Change your world!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Samantha Mascarenhas lives in the beautiful rain city of Edinburgh, currently pursuing a degree in veterinary medicine. As an ardent lover of nature, she looks for every opportunity to discover the grace and grandeur of God’s creation while wandering in forests or walking along the seashore. She also loves to draw and paint varied themes from the Bible. Samantha sees her Christian journey inundated with blessing, beauty and breathtaking Grace which she desires to make known through her art, writing and witness. You can connect with her on Instagram at @child.inspired