Saturday, April 16, 2016

Vocation-Knowing and caring for the Lord's own.

This weekend the universal church prays for vocations to the priesthood, religious and consecrated life, and the diaconate. These particular vocations have a common thread;  all of them have a charism that calls them to care for the many. In ways similar to individual families who also share a vocation in rearing children; vocations to marriage which is a foundational vocation witnessing two people, a woman and a man, who show their care, protection and service towards the other as a lifelong vocation; similar to the vocation of the single life; which offers a freedom to give more time to caring for the many needs of the peoples of the world; this weekend we offer prayers to those who have answered yes to the call in a personal relationship with Christ in caring for Him through the many.  Vowed, Consecrated and Ordained commit themselves to hundreds of thousands of people through their vocation. Some exercise it through parish life, some through involvement in schools and universities, some through community and social programs that follow Catholic Social teaching. Regardless of the particular charism, these vocations are an answer to Jesus invitation to follow Him.  These vocations show the works of Jesus to the many. These vocations do not operate in isolation though, they call all of us to live our own vocations as being good shepherds to others. 

Just this Saturday, Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople both visited a refugee camp in Greece. They went to bring attention to the plight of millions of peoples who are fleeing war, poverty, terrorism, and despair in their own countries. It is messy and messiness is exactly what Jesus called His followers to in His great commandment of loving and building relationships with the least of His. Just this past Friday night Sr. Clareann Weinert spoke to our students on religious life and how important forming relationships with people is to her and her community of religious women.  Relationships allow us to be good shepherds of others and to lead them to the love and care of Christ.

Jesus says in today’s Gospel “my sheep hear my voice, I know them and they follow me”  As shepherds, we are called to focus on the identity of our community.  And we all share in Christ great commission to lead others to Him. Living our vocation is to allow our voice be the voice of Christ so others will hear him, and come to know Him.

Catholic writer “Alice Camille says “our vocation is the door, our consent is the key.  The word “consent itself comes from two Latin words “con- ‘together’ + sentire ‘feel’. This is what a relationship demands, an openness to be with and to understand the other. Each of us has a vocation just waiting for us. Like a door it has a means to be opened by and through our individual consent to enter.  Each one of our vocations is different, lived in different ways.  But we must all spiritually support and recognize the vocations of others even if it is not our own. And that support will cause tensions as we all can feel that my vocation is more important than yours.  That’s our human nature. We keep trying even when difficult. But as Mark Twain says. “By trying we can easily learn to endure adversity, another person’s I mean”  We don’t go to bed at night feeling all is well.  We know that there are needs to be met, challenges to overcome, and vocations to be lived. All in community, in relationship with Christ and each other. The door awaits us, through the door folks are listening for Christ’ voice.  Will we consent to opening the door to our vocation so they too can hear His voice? 


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