Christians in a Secular World

Yesterday, Bishop Lee Piche, auxiliary bishop of the Minneapolis/St. Paul diocese came to the Law School to celebrate Mass and to have lunch with some students and faculty. He and only some brief prepared remarks, choosing to reserve the bulk of the time at lunch for student questions.

One of the questions asked by one of the first year students, someone just starting to think about what might be her place in the law, was whether there are certain areas of the law that are “off-limits” for Catholics, types of legal practice that Catholics should stay away from. She wondered, for example, whether Catholics should avoid things like divorce law.

Bishop Piche was firm in the conviction that there is no area of the law that is “off-limits,” that faith-filled, holy persons are needed in all areas of the law. With respect to her example of divorce, he observed that while the Church is opposed to divorce, it recognizes that some marriages can’t be salvaged and that it is important to have lawyers in that situation who can render compassionate and loving advice that takes into account the best interests of the family (especially children).

I think the general point is an important one. It is easy to think that certain jobs are the “good” or “right” kinds of jobs for spiritually, socially-minded people to have. But there is no area of the world – of legal practice or any other place – that can’t be a venue for spreading Kingdom. And, indeed, some of the least likely places might be the places a Christian disciple can do the most good.

Part of discerning vocation is discovering where each of our wonderful and unique gifts can best be put to use for God’s plan of salvation. And to discern correctly, we need to have a broad view of what the possibilities are, and that not all “proper” vocations look the same.