Vocations Rock

Written By Fr. Rob Johnson

About 20 years ago there was an article in Rolling Stone magazine that asked different musicians one question: “What’s the first song that rocked your world?”  It’s an intriguing question, as Bishop Barron pointed out in a 2018 talk on beauty, because it’s not the same thing as asking “what is the first song you liked?”!  What is the first song that rocked your world?  Bishop Barron talked about “Like a Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan, he heard it when he was seventeen and has been listening to it for the last 40 years trying to understand it.  It’s the same song that singer/songwriter Patti Smith said caused her to pull the car over and put her face in her hands the first time she heard it. 

The experience of being grasped at our core by something is a deep part of being a human being.  We all find different things subjectively satisfying…I prefer chocolate ice cream, you prefer vanilla…nobody is wrong, we just like different things.  But what about when something totally captures our heart in an objective way?  It’s not just music, listen to this quote from the biography of the late comedian Chris Farley: “Keith Richards said that the first time he heard rock and roll it was like the whole world went from black-and-white to technicolor.  That’s how Chris always seemed to describe finding comedy. 

How would you answer that question…what rocks your world?  What captures your imagination and heart?  What gives the world color?  Maybe it’s rock n roll music, maybe it’s a certain book or movie, maybe it’s a person.  For me it was always baseball.  I remember my dad taking us to Cardinals games growing up.  Sitting next to my dad, seeing the big leagues under the lights on warm summer evenings stole my imagination.  I didn’t have the words at the time, but even the memories are so good they hurt.

I offer all of this to invite you to a new way of thinking about vocation, what God is calling you to in your life.  It can be easy to put pressure on yourself when it comes to vocation…I don’t want to make a mistake!  What if I choose the wrong path?!  What if God wants me to be a priest but I don’t want to??  What if I desire to be a nun but God calls me to marriage??  Relax.  Vocation is rooted in God finding you; it’s about letting Him show you what the deepest desires and longings of your heart point to, it’s about letting God capture your heart.  What stirs and moves your soul?  What rocks your world?  Reflecting on that question just may allow you to encounter the living God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Who is the source of all Truth and Beauty and Goodness in the world, baseball and rock n roll included.