Paul Caldarella speaks about responding to the Lord’s call

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Paul Caldarella addresses BYU students and faculty during the devotional on July 25. (Hannah Gasinki)

BYU McKay School of Education associate professor, Paul Caldarella, spoke about how responding to the Lord’s call yields blessings in his devotional address on July 25.

Caldarella recounted how the story of his immigrant grandfather and those of the early pioneers lead him to his devotional topic.

“I began to realize that they had heeded the call of the Lord,” Caldarella said. “How else could they have made those long treks and withstood the hardships that often accompanied those experiences?”

Caldarella, who is the only member of his family to join the LDS church, drew parallels between scripture and his own experiences throughout his devotional.

“The Lord calls us in different ways, to do different things, at different times in our lives, but always with the same purpose — to serve Him, and in serving Him we are blessed, as are those around us,” Caldarella said.

He described how Adam was called after eating the forbidden fruit and hid from the Lord.

“I believe this shows Heavenly Father’s love for us,” Caldarella said. “He calls to us at various times in our lives, both when we are living worthily, but also when we sin, make mistakes, or are fearful … his calls to us at such times may be particularly important, as they often prompt us to get back on the path that leads to true happiness, joy, and peace.

Caldarella compared this scriptural anecdote with his own experience as a non-member college student, trying to distance himself from his friends who were only focused on having a “good time.”

“This lifestyle, while bringing some temporary pleasure, did not leave me with a feeling of lasting happiness, joy, or peace,” Caldarella said. “I tried explaining to these friends my desire to serve and help others in meaningful ways, but they did not want to abandon their pleasure-seeking lifestyles.”

He also used the Savior’s birth to illustrate responding to the Lord’s call.

Caldarella said he had always been impressed by the story of Mary and Joseph, particularly how they had individually received callings delivered by heavenly messengers and responded with “be it unto me according to thy word despite their uncertainties.”

“This is a good example for all of us when we are called of the Lord,” Caldarella said. “We may have some fears and doubts, but if we have faith, and heed the call, all will work out.” 

He used the story of Jonah to demonstrate the times the Lord’s call is not heeded and contrast the other anecdotes used.

“While we can choose to run from the call of the Lord, He will continue to try to help us turn to Him and serve those who we are called to serve, and in doing so be blessed ourselves,” Caldarella said.

Caldarella concluded with his testimony.

“I know that the Lord is continually calling to each of us to follow Him,” Caldarella said. “If we have eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to feel. I know that our lives and the lives of others are greatly blessed when we heed the call of the Lord.”

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