IS IT DIFFICULT TO DECIDE A VOCATION?
The thing is not so difficult, although it is not to be taken lightly. God certainly calls! And his calling requires that the young man put himself in a certain state of life, a state on which his whole future will depend, both in this world and in the next. Therefore, God cannot expect the young man to make that choice if he is not sure what to do. And that is why it must also give him a certain facility to know his will for sure.
God usually gives a certain facility to help us do the necessary things and thus it is easy to eat, breathe or pray. Well, choosing the state of our life well is a necessary thing for us, for the Church and for the souls, therefore, God has to make such a choice in a certain way easy.
Fr Lessio says: “If someone is determined to embrace religion and is determined to observe the rules and his obligations, there is no doubt that this resolution, that vocation, comes from God; it does not matter what circumstances have produced it ”. “It doesn’t matter how we start,” says Saint Francis de Sales, “as long as we are determined to persevere and finish well.” And Saint Thomas Aquinas boldly asserts that “it does not matter from what source our purpose to enter religion comes; it comes from God ”; while Father Suárez concludes that “generally the desire for a religious life comes from the Holy Spirit and as such we have to receive it.”
However, the young man should never be allowed to precipitation. The vocation is well examined, it is pondered, it is tested calmly and constantly, seriously and with intelligence. Do not allow a youngster’s future to be based on a “maybe.”
THE VARIOUS FORMS HOW DOES THE LORD USUALLY MANIFEST HIMSELF?
1) Directly: that is, when God himself, through a vision or with a very clear inspiration, gives us to understand in a way that does not admit of any kind of doubts the path to be followed. This is what God did with Saint Paul, calling him in a miraculous and very clear way on the road to Damascus.
2) More frequently, the Lord makes himself felt by giving the young person a lot of clarity and security coming from consolations and convictions that make the vocation something felt. The young man is strongly attracted to religious life; for him there is no other ideal, he cannot doubt that this is his path; when he thinks about his vocation he feels happy, he is filled with enthusiasm and he is ready for any struggle or sacrifice in order to become a religious person, a savior of souls. They will have temptations, moments of doubt and discouragement, but he will understand that they are temptations that will soon pass to leave behind him again calm, light and full security.
3) Calm time. Decision founded on reasoning. They are those who are not sensibly moved by grace, but are in a state of absolute tranquility. These do not for that reason have to believe that they have no vocation, but they must also make their choice and consider with logic what they have been created for, what is the end of their life on earth, which path is the most appropriate for them, more easily and safely reach their ultimate goal.
HOW TO BEHAVE WHEN WE ARE TOLD OF A VOCATION FOR THE FIRST TIME?
It is necessary first of all to encourage the person, but we should not be content with beautiful words of praise; Then the serious and solid instructions on the meaning of the vocation and on how to see if God really calls or not are to be followed. Encourage seriously, giving a clear idea of what a vocation is, of the consolations and sacrifices that it entails and explaining to the young person how they can come to see whether they have a true vocation or not.
Not all at once. Let us give time to the grace to penetrate and saturate the ground. Later we will talk about the signs of vocation and then how the choice is made. And meanwhile, ask and pray a lot.
Spirit of eternal Love,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
we thank You for all the vocations
of apostles and saints which have enriched the Church.
Continue, we pray, this work of Yours.
Remember when, at Pentecost,
You descended on the Apostles gathered together in prayer
with Mary, the mother of Jesus,
and look upon your Church which today has
particular need of holy priests,
of faithful and authoritative witnesses of your grace;
she needs consecrated men and women,
who show the joy of those who live only for the Father,
who make their own the mission and the offering of Christ,
who build up in charity the new world.
Holy Spirit, eternal Spring of joy and peace,
it is You who open the heart and the mind to the divine call;
it is You who make effective every impetus
towards good, towards truth, towards charity.
Your “inexpressible groans”
rise up to the Father from the heart of the Church,
which suffers and struggles for the Gospel.
Open the hearts and minds of young men and women,
so that a new flowering of holy vocations
may show forth the fidelity of your love,
and all may know Christ,
the true light come into the world
to offer to every human being
the sure hope of eternal life. Amen.