Pope Francis continued: ‘Vocation, like holiness, is not an extraordinary experience reserved for a few. Just as there is a ‘holiness of the saints next door’ (Gaudete et Exsultate), so too there is a vocation for everyone, for God’s gaze and call is directed to everyone.’
These words truly set the theme once again this year for National Vocations Awareness Week incorporating the first two weekends of August. It’s all about the unique call and vocation of God to everyone.
Long gone are the days when we thought that it was only priests and Religious who had a vocation. In his message, Pope Francis makes this point: “Each man and woman, even before encountering Christ and embracing the Christian faith, receives with the gift of life a fundamental calling…at every moment of our lives, we are called to foster this divine spark, present in the heart of every man and woman.”
And for us as believers, we know that it is through our baptism that each of us is uniquely touched by Christ and when “within this great common vocation, God addresses a particular call to each of us”.
The call, uniquely personal and individual, is also essentially communal as we are called together as the Body of Christ, the Church.
In our day, when one’s choices in life have become absolute and have always to be about what I want to do or what I want to achieve for my life, how important it is to name and own this perspective. Pope Francis names this reality when he says: “As Christians, we do not only receive a vocation individually, we are also called together.”
He reminds us that God in Christ has a plan and a dream for the whole of creation and that each of us has a unique part to play in cooperating with God. He reminds us that it is the Holy Spirit that within our own individual gifts, talents and responsibilities unites us all for the sake of God’s mysterious designs. He reminds us that the purpose of our communal call in the Spirit in to be “agents of evangelisation.”
Pope Francis speaks of the further specification of God’s call when he mentions the ordained ministry, the consecrated life, marriage and every vocation and ministry in the Church. Again, all these vocations work together in the Church which is “an evangelising community”.
During this National Vocations Awareness Week, let’s acknowledge and celebrate the unique vocation God has given us. Remember that we can be no more fulfilled and happier in this life than when we are following God’s call. Remember that we can do no better and make no better a contribution than precisely in the vocation that comes from God.
Let’s renew our commitment to our children and young people. The ‘gaze of God’ will come to them through us. Seeing the spark of the Divine in them, we help them experience it and follow it. Let us not be afraid to say to our children that God has a unique call and mission for them in this life. Let us continually pray for them.
Finally, it is with great thanks to God we acknowledge the vocations of Fr George Nader, Mgrs Robert Egar, John Swann and Robert Aitken, all of whom celebrated significant anniversaries last month. Their many years of faithful service as committed priests amongst the people of the Archdiocese is truly a blessing for us all. As a newly ordained priest, they were key leaders who I looked up to. Their fidelity to God in the priesthood continues well into their years of retirement. I continue to be inspired by them.
As we honour them with great affection at this time, let us remember them in our prayers.
Fr Dean Marin is Vicar General and director of Vocations
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