And while farming is not really an option for most, I do think that it is in our work that we men, as fathers, can have the greatest impact on how our lives unfold in more human ways into today’s societal environment. We long for our “vocation” and our “work” to be the same thing, which is actually another common thread in Berry’s work, because, especially for the laymen, those things ought to be united in the common idea of “economy” – the union or meaning, work, place, and home. Berry’s idea holds a fuller understanding of vocation than either the typical Catholic or secular society does. “Vocation,” to many Catholics, means the overarching “state” of religious, clergy, or lay that a person is called to. “Vocation” in secular society means your trade, generally, but one merely chosen and trained for. But to Berry, vocation is that particular state that includes a “thing” you make because we were made to make, and this he presents in contrast to a mere “job”, which is had for the sake of money alone:
“[Vocations] are specific kinds of work to which [people] are summoned by God or by their natural gifts or talents. The kind of work may be cabinet-making or music-making, cooking or forestry, medicine or mechanics, science or law or philosophy or farming – any kind of work that is whole… A “job,” by contrast, is understood as any work whatever that one can earn money by doing…” (Wendell Berry, The Art of Loading Brush, 79).
Read the complete essay by Jason Craig at Catholic Exchange.