This past week was National Vocations Awareness Week. It would be simple to boil this week down to encouraging young men to think about priesthood, but there is more to vocations than priesthood, although that is an important topic to highlight. Vocation comes from the Latin word vocare, which means “to call.” A vocation is a calling, an invitation from God. God calls us on varying levels. Firstly, God calls and invites each one of us, regardless of one's state in life, to holiness. Harkening back to All Saints Day, we are reminded that each one of us is meant to be a saint—yes, even you!
Further, God calls us to a general state in life: married life, priesthood, religious life as a monk, friar, nun, or sister. Even these vocations are broad and general, so God calls one specifically within a vocation. Who will you marry? Will a priest be a diocesan priest or belong to a religious order? If entering into religious life, which religious order: Dominicans, Franciscans, Missionaries of Charity, etc.? For married men, maybe they are being called to the diaconate (being a deacon). Take it another step further: for those in the work force, God may be leading a person toward a specific profession, based upon their gifts and talents.
Especially as children and teenagers mature and young adults plan for their future, there are some things adults—parents, grandparents, concerned citizens—can do to help young people become more aware of God's plan for their lives:
- Raising children vibrantly in the Faith: attending Sunday Mass weekly; praying together as a family in the home (more than just grace before meals!); talking about the readings and homily after Mass; making use of the sacraments and devotions of the Church
- Teaching children the Faith and teaching them to be disciples, followers of Christ and His Church, not just members of a club
- Encouraging boys and young men to think about the priesthood even at a young age and remind them that it is normal to think about being a priest; in other words, don't make priesthood seem strange
- Reminding everyone that the goal and purpose of life is to be a saint and live a life of holiness
- Turning to God and asking in all major decisions in life what His plan is and having the courage to say “yes” to the Lord!
Have a great week!