Support those discerning their vocation by fully living your own

| Archbishop Bernard Hebda | November 10, 2016
Archbishop Bernard Hebda

Archbishop Bernard Hebda

Dioceses throughout the United States are marking National Vocations Awareness Week Nov. 6-12, an occasion for promoting vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and consecrated life, and praying for those who are discerning their vocation in life. I feel blessed to be in an archdiocese that takes seriously the obligation to support our sisters and brothers in their discernment of God’s call. I have recently had the opportunity to host a Myriam dinner for young women contemplating a vocation to consecrated life and an Andrew supper for their male counterparts, and was impressed on both occasions by the conviction of our young people that God has a plan for each one of us. Their openness to the possibility that God could be calling them to consecrated life, the diaconate or the priesthood is inspiring.

The Second Vatican Council taught that “The duty of fostering vocations falls on the whole Christian community, and they should discharge it principally by living full Christian lives.” How insightful! The most effective way that we can support those who are still discerning their calling in life is by each of us living out our vocation to the fullest, whatever that may be. The young man who sees his parents or grandparents approaching married life as a true vocation, trusting in the God who has called them to the lifelong commitment of marriage, is going to be more open to trusting the Lord in the event that he’s being called to be a deacon or priest. The young woman who has an experience with women religious or priests who reveal they are fulfilled in their service is going to be more likely to be attentive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit in her own life.

We’re blessed in this archdiocese not only with joy-filled priests and deacons and consecrated women and men, but also with laity who are on fire with the faith. Allow me to offer just three recent examples.

I had the privilege of gathering with our lay ecclesial ministers and parish leaders Oct. 27 for our annual Fall Formation Day. I was humbled when I considered the breadth of the contribution that these men and women are making in our parishes, schools and archdiocese — and their willingness to come together to support one another.

Just a few days later, I spent the day with 1,300 young disciples at Archdiocesan Youth Day. While I was inspired by their energy and zeal, what really impressed me was the extent to which the day was overwhelmingly guided by lay faithful ministering here in the archdiocese. While the presence of the religious sisters and priests (and bishops!) who helped out at the event was clearly appreciated, it was our lay youth ministers and music ministers who moved me with their insights, their powerful prayer and their vision for renewal in the archdiocese.

The following day, I had the privilege of assisting a group of lay women and men who were leading a two-day retreat at the state correctional facility in Lino Lakes. As I listened that evening to the “insiders” speak of what they had gained from the retreat, I couldn’t help but thank the Lord for the way in which the Holy Spirit had stirred the hearts of the retreat participants through the generous ministry of the laity who had given up their weekend to preach the Gospel in word and action — as we are all called to do in virtue of our baptism. It was a privilege to be the Lord’s instrument at Mass that evening, but I realized once again that my work there was merely supplemental to the powerful ministry and witness that had already been so capably offered by others.

As we celebrate National Vocations Awareness Week this year, I would ask you to join me not only in praying for those who are discerning God’s call, but also in thanksgiving for the many women and men of this archdiocese — representing a wide range of vocations — who are discharging their “duty to foster vocations” by “living full Christian lives.” May their example inspire all of us each day to be sensitive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, who knows just what the Church needs.

 

Apoye a los que están discerniendo su vocación viviendo plenamente la suya

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Category: Only Jesus

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