No one is called to walk alone
After winning the Australian Open Women’s tennis title, Ash Barty spoke of her victory and showed a wisdom and maturity beyond her years.
It wasn’t just all about her. With Cathy Freeman and Evonne Goolagong present, she conveyed a sense of gratitude and ongoing connectedness with those who had gone before her, supported her and inspired her. She recognised her heritage that she continues to live and express.
Barty was conscious that she was a role model and inspiration for many other young Indigenous children who could follow in her footsteps. Her victory was not just about her, but those of her whole team with coach and support staff. How refreshing were her words in seeing beyond herself and recognising how important so many others were in her success.
A vocation, yes, is a unique personal call from God, but no one is called in isolation, and no one is called to walk alone. It’s time to challenge the modern way of thinking that people exist as isolated, individuals and that life is absolutely one’s own, to do with whatever one chooses.
Have we exalted freedom, individuality and one’s personal pursuit of happiness in life, and neglected the importance of others, especially family, extended family and a local community?
As parents, teachers, and adults do we magnify the options of choice for our young people and then leave them on their own to try and make sense out of so many conflicting calls upon them?
Are we afraid of imposing our ideas or values on them, that we dare not suggest that God has a unique and personal mission for them in life? Is it not time to reclaim the sense that ‘we only know where we’re going, if we know where we come from?’.
Our sense of self only comes from our sense of being loved by others and being deeply connected to them. It’s others who can see the emerging self and inner potential and call it forth.
Hence a vocation is not just a purely personal and individual journey. We don’t just leave our young people to work it all out for themselves. A vocation is a call from the community, to serve the community in a particular way. A vocation is nurtured and supported all along the way. Indeed, one needs to be called forth, affirmed and given confidence in hearing a call and having the courage to follow. None of this happens in a vacuum.
Each vocation is a gift to the Church and according to words of St Pope John Paul II in Pastores Dabo Vobis, ‘Every vocation is a personal and unique event, but also a community and ecclesial event. No one is called to walk alone. Every vocation is raised up by the Lord as a gift for the Christian Community’.
As I take up the Vocations ministry once again, I need your support. As members of the Catholic community in Adelaide we all have a responsibility in fostering vocations to the diaconate, priesthood and consecrated life. Let’s start by praying for vocations. Not just in theory, but by name for the young people we know.
Fr Marin is Vocations directorJump to next article
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