It is through you that God will unlock the potential of other people's vocations
Children in religious habits introduce religious orders at Hanoi Cathedral on Good Shepherd Sunday on May 8. (Photo courtesy of tonggiaophanhanoi.org)
On Good Shepherd Sunday, which is also Vocation Sunday, religious communities around the world hold special activities to promote religious vocations among young people at churches.
Some people liken this special day to a festival of religious orders as it is an opportunity for congregations to show their charism and spiritualities and arouse religious vocations among youths.
However, such a comparison is not entirely correct since it has only raised the outer shell in many layers of the deeper meaning of this feast.
Indeed, when considering the word "festival," people can imagine the scene as a trade fair, for example, with stalls displaying all kinds of eye-catching products. Convents, monasteries and churches are richly decorated, and Catholic singers are also invited to perform in some places.
However, is the "festival of religious orders" to be understood with the outward appearance as described? Is that the day when congregations have a chance to show off their beautiful handmade habits and cassocks? Is it a chance to introduce their charism? Are attractive flyers and eloquent speakers the feast's purpose? Finally, some might wonder whether religious vocations are better, holier and nobler than married and single lives.
Honestly, we should not understand that because sooner or later this thought will downgrade consecrated life and even distort people's views about various vocations in the Church.
In the common spirit, the World Day of Prayer for Vocations and the accompanying vocation promotion are just a way for religious to show the way to God to young people according to their religious spiritualities
Highlighting the role of the "common vocation" in the synodal Church, Pope Francis said: “The word ‘vocation’ should not be understood restrictively as referring simply to those who follow the Lord through a life of special consecration. All of us are called to share in Christ’s mission to reunite a fragmented humanity and to reconcile it with God."
Therefore, all men and women in the Church receive a fundamental calling: each of us is a creature willed and loved by God, and each of us has a unique and special place in the mind of God.
Firstly, we should live out the rudimentary vocation of every Christian before thinking about any other particular vocations.
The pope also said: “God addresses a particular call to each of us. He touches our lives by his love and directs them to our ultimate goal, to a fulfillment that transcends the very threshold of death. That is how God wanted to see our lives and how he still sees them.” That is why all Catholics are called to aim for the chief purpose — that is, to let God touch us and we experience his great love for each of us, then each person introduces God to people around in the way that God works and the way the Church directs.
In the common spirit, the World Day of Prayer for Vocations and the accompanying vocation promotion are just a way for religious to show the way to God to young people according to their religious spiritualities.
Through praying for vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life, God does not overlook the married and single vocations but continues to arouse a certain potential, at times unknown to ourselves. Throughout our lives, he works tirelessly so that we can place this potential at the service of the common good.
For that reason, Christians’ responsibility is not limited to their particular vocations but is directed towards building a world of fraternity, where there is a mosaic of countless different vocations, and they work together to displace a complete picture of love as God expects.
You should be glad that the Church's flower garden has plentiful flowers of rich colors, scents and characteristics. It is you who is also one of those flowers
Speaking of vocation, Pope Francis explained that it is not just about choosing this or that way of life, devoting one’s life to a certain ministry, or being attracted by the charism of a religious family, movement, or ecclesial community. However, each vocation in the Church and in a broader sense in society contributes to a common objective: to celebrate among men and women the harmony of manifold gifts that can only be brought about by the Holy Spirit.
On the day of prayer for vocations, if you see intense activities to promote vocations from religious orders, you should remember the pope's message and understand what the protagonists do. They unintentionally try to entice young people into their convents and monasteries and lower the honor and value of other congregations to show off how beautiful their own groups are. They also do not intend to spotlight the beauty of consecrated life.
In doing so, you are called to become protagonists of the Church's mission to bring divine love to other people by your own vocations. Through you, God will unlock the potential of other people's vocations.
You should be glad that the Church's flower garden has plentiful flowers of rich colors, scents and characteristics. It is you who is also one of those flowers.
Let us give off our own sweet perfume and talk about God in our vocations. Consequently, in the heart of the synodal Church, clergy, men and women religious, and laypeople journey and work together in bearing witness to the truth that one great human family united in love is no utopian vision, but the very purpose for which God created us.
* The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official editorial position of UCA News. This article was summarized and translated by a UCA News reporter from a Vietnamese article published by dongten.net here.
Share your comments