Sunday, September 18, 2005

A Word (& Not the Last) on Vocations

It is my belief that the success of living our Catholic faith is reliant on how well we develop three important concepts. These concepts also happen to be the goals of the parish I belong to. They are the goals that the Parish Council seeks to achieve and execute:

  1. Spiritual growth

  2. Education

  3. Unity

It is not my aim in this particular blog to discuss these three goals, however I WILL discuss them at a later date and in great detail. I mentioned them because what I am going to say follows as a development of the first goal – The spiritual growth of SELF, FAMILY, PARISH, NATION etc etc etc… It all starts with the SELF being FOCUSED on CHRIST….. The rest emanates from there!!!

We are called to witness to Christ’s teachings by being proactive in the work of vocations for “the harvest is abundant but the laborers are few, so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest” (Lk 10:2). Our goal, individually and as a community, should be to assist the pastor of the parish we belong to in animating a threefold ministry of vocation awareness, vocation education, and vocation identification at the parish level. The ultimate objective should be to build an understanding of vocation among adults, children and youth. However we need to understand that we are ALL CALLED. That is what vocations means - it is derived from the latin vocatio which means summons, and from vocare to call. We are ALL CALLED.

Our call, be it to priesthood, deaconate, religious life, to married life or to single life, IS NOT a call to a rank in the Church. Let us recall how Christ chastised several times the apostles’ for squabbling about who was the most important or who wanted the seat at His right hand (Mk 10:42), and therefore let us remember that a vocation IS a call to complete the body of Christ in his Church. Like the little stream of water flowing in the forest, to the larger lake, to the river and ultimately to the great ocean, no drop is greater than the other, but the stream of water would never get to the sea were it not to flow through the river, or the lake. However, some of us ARE called to a higher level of service and commitment to Christ and his Church. Such is religious life. We highlight in particular the sacramental ministry of the priesthood “by which a man receives the power to do what he cannot do alone…… [where he is] sent to give what he cannot give of his own strength; he is sent to act in the person of another, to be his living instrument.” (By Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, On the Nature of the Priesthood ,October 1, 1990)

Thus we are ALL called to be part of that continuum that leads us ultimately to eternal life with God. So I challenge YOU the reader:

  1. I ask you to invite others, particularly youth, to consider religious life.
  2. I challenge you to urge your friends and families to discuss the possibility of religious life and priesthood in their homes.
  3. I ask you to support by your prayers those who have expressed a desire to explore religious life or priesthood. Let them know that there ARE people ready to support them.
  4. Finally, find out if there is a vocations committee /group in your parish who would act even simply as moral support for people with an interest in vocations

Let us take up Christ’s challenge to “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch." (Luke 5:4), a call echoed by our Pope John Paul II. Let us like Samuel, answer “Here I am Lord” when God calls us, and like Mary our Holy Mother say: “May it be done to me according to your word”.

I ask you in doing this to remember Christ’s call to be the light of the world (Mt 5:14) and to ensure that we are sharing this with our youth in particular. Let us give them a hope beyond what earthly wealth can offer and ensure that OUR lack of motivation or interest is not one big reason why they would turn to the wrong alternatives in life. I ask you to energetically participate in the building of God’s Church.

Here is what YOU CAN DO. If not already implemented in your parish, encourage and actively work for vocations:

  1. Through prayer during Sunday Liturgy and also privately and with your family.
  2. Through conversation with others about the importance of vocations. Consider if God is calling you to the priesthood deaconate or religious life.
  3. Through encouragement of others especially the young to explore the possibility of serving our Lord through ordination or consecrated life.

    Let’s for once be PROACTIVE for the KINGDOM OF GOD!!!!

    God Bless (+)


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