Portrait of a Vocation

In C. S. Lewis’s Preface to Paradise Lost, he describes Aeneas’ unfaltering search for the “abiding city,” his willingness to pay the terrible price to reach it at last, even though he casts a wistful side-glance at those not called as he is. “This is the very portrait of a vocation: a thing that calls or beckons, that calls inexorably, yet you must strain your ears to catch the voice, that insists on being sought, yet refuses to be found.” Then there were the Trojan women who had heard the call, yet refused to follow all the way, and wept on the Sicilian shore. “To follow the vocation does not mean happiness,” Lewis writes, “but once it has been heard, there is no happiness for those who do not follow.”

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