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menthanhgiadalat.net

Religious Vocation

 

* Vocation? – Who does not have a personal vocation? – No!  Vocation here means a call to

the religious life and/or to the priesthood!

– Oh, I see!

* “ ...Not enough harvesters!”: Not enough harvesters! Not enough harvesters!  I must pray for this!

– A moment of prayer for vocation:

- Anne:  Lord! The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few! Please send out laborers

for your harvest!

- God: What… do you say?

- Anne: ...lack of harvesters in your field! Please send more of them!

- God: How can it be?! There are billions of Christians in this world! They will come to harvest...

- Anne: How many Christians actually know and care about sowing and harvesting? Even they themselves need to receive the seed, to make it grow... and to be harvested. You need to send “professional” workers to “harvest” them too... That is why I am asking you to send priests and religious women and men... Please give more vocations, call more people to religious and/or priestly life.

- God: Have I ever not sent enough? Have I ever called so few? I always call enough people, more than enough...

- Anne: But Lord, how come there is a lack of vocation everywhere – especially in the West– Many religious institutions are closed up because of lack of personnel. Many parishes are dissolved because of lack of priests.

- God: Are you sure?

- Anne: Lord, you can send your angels on earth to verify what I say...

- God: Alright! [a moment of silence...]

- God: You are right! But why is it so? I always call enough people... But the reality is stark! Oh, I see now: I call many young men and women but they do not listen, they do not want to listen. They close their ears... always listening to their Walkman, MP3, ipod... letting their bodies moving along the upbeat music, their minds wandering with the music, their hearts focusing on the worldly activities, their eyes feasting on the external displays... I ask you, then how can they listen to my call? It is inevitable that there is a lack of vocations. So what are we going to do now?

- Anne: What are we going to do, Lord? [another moment of silence...]

- Anne: Lord, do you remember? To entice the “adulterous soul” to come back, you came up with this strategy: “So I will allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak to her heart.”

- God: Yes I do! But nowadays leading them into the desert is neither an easy task, nor an ordinary one! Also, not in every place there is a desert.

- Anne: The Holy Spirit has shown me... we need to lead people, especially young adults, into silence – both external and interior – that is to bring them to silent retreats so that they have an opportunity to hear Your voice, to know what You want them to do, to see clearly Your boundless love – so that they will be able to listen and understand Your calling, to recognize their vocation, including even their religious calling!

- God: True, that is true! Well done! But you must try – and tell your friends to try – helping me to do so!

- Anne: Amen, amen! Halleluia!

* To recognize the religious vocation? To live differently, oddly or to live an extraordinary life, more honored than a married life?

– Oddly? Sure, if you look at it from a worldly, natural view (i.e. no family, no private property, no personal freedom); but viewing from a supernatural angle, you will see that those who consecrate themselves for the sake of the Kingdom are being graced by God not only to live an ordinary life, but also to be transformed into masterpieces – through a consecrated life like that of Christ – showing the Love and Power of God, expressing the transcendental nature of human beings (“as the angels in heaven...” Mt22:30). Concretely speaking, that transformative grace is called the religious vocation. That is the particularity of the religious vocation in comparison to the common vocation to holiness.

– Which state of life is higher or more honored? If by its structure, the religious life is seeking perfection – “a pursuit of perfect charity” (cf. Perfectae Caritatis, nn. 1, 5) – this does not necessarily mean that the individuals in this state of life are holier than those in the marriage stage of life. The level of personal perfection depends on God’s grace and man’s response in doing as perfectly as possible God’s will.

– How to recognize it? Is it not only your desire that counts? Normally, desire does not come from verifiable reasons and by itself we do not know how long the desire would last! The vocation, the mentioned transformative grace, must first come from God. Human desire is only a possible response to the invitation from God; it is not the essential, active element in the vocational process. We speak of a “possibility” because sometimes it is our will and not God’s will (as seen in many times in the Gospels), and vice versa! On the other hand, when calling a person, God must find a way for him or her to recognize this call. Yes! God writes His will, His words on the entire life of the person whom He calls. Therefore, to recognize God’s will, to discern one’s vocation, it is necessary to re-read one’s life to see clearly the signs, to know what God wants to communicate regarding vocation and religious life.

– In practical terms, how does one’s vocation or God’s will on religious life, manifest itself? Normally, God speaks through these elements that characterize the religious life: 1. Being a ‘normal’ person (in physical, psychological, intellectual ability) 2. Being reasonably sure of the ability to live a celibate consecrated life, 3. Being detached from possession, 4. Being able to accept God’s will over one’s personal desire (as eventually expressed through the superior will), 5. Being able to live in peace with others (community life), 6. Having a conscious and active spiritual life, and, 7. Having a sound motivation – from the depth of one’s heart – urging one to choose the religious life.

– Can every one “read” what God has written in his or her life? Probably not! One must learn and practice how to read: first reading the easy writings then the more complex ones... To learn anything one needs instruction and time. Likewise, to recognize one’s vocation is a long and challenging process. Although they will be fully revealed and matured in time, the mentioned elements should be taken into account at the beginning of the discernment process. Finally, at the least, the individual must be ready to solve his or her “life puzzle” with the guidance and support from an experienced director.

 

– What are the benefits of a vocational discernment? When one is unsure of something, one is indecisive, unfocused, the mind often distracted, uncommitted...When one is not convinced about one’s vocation, one can hardly try to seriously follow the formation process, to hardly try to live out fully one’s vocation, hardly commit to be an active member in the community, hardly have the strength to overcome vocational crises...Not to mention the possibility of following the wrong path, if there is a lack of discernment!  On the contrary, having a reliable conviction of one’s vocation – through discernment – and in living out that conviction, one has all that is needed for a true religious life.