How Do I Encourage God's Call?
The home is the natural seedbed of priestly and religious vocations. Parents provide the soil. Young minds and hearts should be formed at an early age to be eagerly attentive to the call of Almighty God.
- Teach them to love God. Vocation is a matter of love, or it is not a vocation.
- Teach them to pray and pray with them.
- Tell them that in order to be happy in life, they will need to discover God’s plan and purpose for them. It is not too early to pray for this.
- Talk about priests and religious well.
- Teach them generosity and encourage them to do things for others.
- Teach them to love all, especially the poor and needy.
- Read the lives of the saints to them. It was a daily practice in the home of our mother Foundress. Three of the nine children in her family became religious.
- Encourage them to read Sacred Scripture and take part in Bible study.
- Encourage them to participate in pilgrimages, prayer meetings, retreats, etc. Create a place and time for reflection and solitude.
- Give them good books to read and wholesome videos to watch.
- Without being pushy, adults should not be afraid to gently introduce the subject of a vocation with teens (“Mary, did you ever think about entering a religious order?”). They may resist it at first, but it may give them something to think about later.
- Teach them that happiness is found not in self-fulfillment, but in the emptying of personal desires to serve others for the love of God.
- Assure them that religious life is very rewarding. How could it be otherwise? You know that you are doing God’s will, and that your whole life is dedicated to a good cause. What else can give a person greater peace of heart? What else is greater than peace of heart? Jesus promised that if you leave your family and possessions for His sake you will receive a “hundredfold and eternal life.”
- Make sure they know that religious life is a joyful life. True joy comes from serving others; religious life is a life of service. If you see unhappy, sad religious, you see a person that does not live their vocation to the fullest.
- Direct them to some other young people that are interested in religious life. They will need all the support they can get. They will be ridiculed and laughed at by those that are interested only in this life and in what you can get out of others, not in what you can give. They will have to face society that shouts out values that are different from Gospel values.
- Help them to find someone who can direct their vocation, help them to discern where God might be leading them. This is very important. Don’t lead them to someone who does not value their own vocation. They will need help. They will be surrounded by obstacles: themselves, the world and the devil.