I WAS heartened to read a story by US Priest, Fr David Toups entitled Ten Things That Promote Vocations writing during National Vocation Awareness Week.
How many of us can remember hearing all of these “things” during our education at Catholic schools?
It seems to me that it is just plain common sense to sow a seed and then watch it grow in the minds and hearts of young people.
Let me list these “things”:
1. Pray for vocations – we need to ask for priests and religious not just once a year in vocations week but daily.
2. Teach young people how to pray – Pope Benedict said that unless we do this, young people will never hear God calling them.
3. Invite young adults and teens to consider a vocation – a non-invasive way to encourage openness to a religious vocation is to say “I see in you the qualities that would make a good priest and I want you to pray about it”.
4. Make it attractive – show the joy of a vocation to the priesthood for what it truly is – a call to be a spiritual father to the whole family of faith. Similarly, the consecrated life for a young woman is a call to be a spiritual mother united to Christ in a unique way. 5. Instil a “vocation culture” – by priests through homilies so it will take root in parishes – also by parents in homes and by teachers in classrooms. Vocations kept out of sight are out of mind.
6. Practice the faith – this is the first step for any young person desiring to discern any call in life.
7. Enter into silence to hear the voice of God – take out the ear buds of iPhones, iPods and iTunes – this is where a clear direction in lives will be found.
8. Be a good disciple – it is often said that we do not have a vocation crisis – we have a discipleship crisis. Young people can become true followers of Jesus Christ by serving those around them – this is where they will discover their call to discipleship and their particular call within the Church.
9. Ask God what he wants knowing that He only wants what is good for you and if you have a true vocation it will be the path to great joy and contentment.
10. Just do it! If you feel that God is inviting you to “try it out” apply to a seminary or religious order – these are places of discernment – time to explore a call to the priesthood or religious life in the knowledge that you will not be ordained or asked to profess vows for many years.
This all seems like “Back to the Future” for those of us old enough to remember – let us follow Fr Toups tips here in Oz – I believe it will work.
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