Today we look at the last topic on “Vocation.” Don’t forget that if you want to refer to the full Apostolic Exhortation from Pope Francis, check this link at the Vatican site.
The vocation to special consecration
274. If we are indeed convinced that the Holy Spirit continues to inspire vocations to the priesthood and the religious life, we can “once more cast out the nets” in the Lord’s name, with complete confidence. We can dare, as we should, to tell each young person to ask whether this is the path that they are meant to follow.
One challenge for many churches, dioceses, and recruiters is that they fail to generate a sufficiently vibrant group of lay disciples. Making the jump from casual believer to priest-in-training is like a chasm. Many are ordained who lack a sense of service. Many of those might be better off as a postulant in a monastery.
The pope has a different perspective, though an older one:
275. Occasionally, I would bring this up with young people, and they would respond almost jokingly: “No, that’s not for me!” Yet, a few years later, some of them were in the seminary. The Lord cannot fail in his promise to provide the Church with shepherds, for without them she would not be able to live and carry out her mission. If it is true that some priests do not give good witness, that does not mean that the Lord stops calling. On the contrary, he doubles the stakes, for he never ceases to care for his beloved Church.
Pope Francis is not wrong for this point-of-view. We live in an age where a bit more sophistication is needed from leadership, and certainly more discernment.
276. In discerning your vocation, do not dismiss the possibility of devoting yourself to God in the priesthood, the religious life or in other forms of consecration. Why not? You can be sure that, if you do recognize and follow a call from God, there you will find complete fulfilment.
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