Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Discernment of Vocations!!!!!

n Month of May normally all the religious and Dioceses conduct vocation camps in various places. The vocation directors do a lot of work before hand spending a lot of time and energy in contacting the candidates who show interest in joining the priesthood. The vocation promotion is well planned and executed by all of them But behind all these programs is the prayer that is prayed by each priest and religious and laypeople in the parishes. In the Capuchin conference of India we have a well written, meaningful and significant prayer that is prayed in all the provinces for the gift of vocations. The belief and faith in prayer is very strong that every vocation is born through prayer and sustained by prayer. Only our constant prayer can help these vocations to persevere and bear abundance of fruits.

I know when I was provincial minister, the vocation promoters would spend a lot of money in advertising about our way of life in local magazines. The result was not so encouraging but what brought vocations to the Order was our personal meeting and dialoguing with the candidates. The visits to the schools, talks to the students in the parishes did help us tremendously. The invitation to the friars and faithful to pray hard for the vocations has worked miracles in many dioceses and religious congregations. The Lord sends workers in His vineyard and he chooses the right ones and we need to collaborate with the Lord in discerning the candidates through prayer. The Church has always received vocations in all the parts of world….because the Lord is the founder and father of the Church and according to the needs of the Church, the Lord has been sending good vocation to spread the good news and work in the missions. 

When God chooses the vocations then our work is to preserve by good formation and accompaniment. The discernment process is not one sided but both the formee and formators have to work towards it.  God has chosen us to be His instruments and not we who choose to be. Those who feel that they have chosen to be Priests and religious have always made mistakes and have not been happy in their life. They have abandoned abruptly because he did not choose them. God loves his chosen ones unconditionally and in His encounter with the chosen one He assures His love and guidance. God becomes a constant companion and shepherd.

During these days of choosing the candidates let us keep in mind that it is God who sends these young men and women to follow our way of life. It is our topmost responsibility to take care and nurture these vocations. Let the process of discernment begin with prayer inviting the entire diocese or province to pray intensely. The candidates respond positively and recognize and acknowledge the prompting of the Holy Spirit within them. 

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