Friday, September 09, 2005

A thought on vocations and Brideshead Revisited

As I was driving into work this morning, for some reason my thoughts drifted to Sebastian Flyte and his brother. My dim recollection of the novel is that Bridey wanted to have a religious vocation, but didn't, and Sebastian had one, but ran from it into all sorts of self-destructive behavior.

I wondered, as I drove, if that might not be the case in many of us. God comes knocking, calling us to some great purpose, and we would rather not answer. God must be wrong. He can't mean me. Then, to prove God wrong, we proceed to make ourselves unfit for the vocation, out of self-defense.


Enbrethiliel said...


That's a great reading of Brideshead Revisited that I never considered before. Now that I think about it, though, yes, Sebastian did have a vocation. :)

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Charles Borromeo said...

You've got a neat blog. I had not thought about it that way before ... making oneself unfit for God's calling. I think that it works that way for all vocations, not just the priesthood or religious life.

Cacciaguida said...

That's actually Cordelia Flyte's own reading of her two brothers. She may be right, but interestingly, she offers it only as a theory.

You can never get too much Brideshead, so keep reading and keep posting!

Fr. S.T. said...

Curiously, however, Julia doesn't see that she is also struggling with vocation, both in the generic sense and the specific sense. This is a great and helpful insight into the book. It fits perfectly with Waugh's own observation that it is a book about grace and how grace plays the role in moving the story forward.

Mike L said...

I agree that's a great hermeneutic key to BR. Now I know why I identified with Bridey. I too wanted to have a vocation to some form of consecrated life but didn't.

I've also known many Brideys and Sebastians of both sexes. Perhaps that's a major cause of the Church's problems these days. It remainds me of the Spanish saying: "Those who would, can't; those who could, don't want to."