Monday, February 9, 2009

Day of Prayer to Consecrated Life -Crisis of vocations

On Sunday we celebrated in the Church the day of consecrated life. We face a crisis of vocations at all levels to be honest, but there is real need even more so of the radical witness of consecrated men and women. In the document titled "The Service and Authority of Obedience" the prefect of the Congregation of Institutes of Consecrated life, mentions the challenge that consecrated people face when it seems that consecrated life is weakening and disspearing. In that same document the prefect mentions how the superiors of communities must remind their members of "the perennial values of this kind of life, because today, as yesterday, and as always NOTHING is MORE IMPORTANT, BEAUTIFUL AND TRUE than spending one's life in the service of the Lord and for the littlest of his children." So why the crisis? When Benedict XVI came to New York last year, he spoke to the Bishops and mentioned that the flourishing of vocations or their lack of are indicators of the vitality of the local Churches. Wow, what a statement, perhaps the lack of vocations in the US is related to our lack of vitality as a Church, something that nobody has ever been able to acknowledge. But why is our Church lacking this vitality necessary to promote vocations? Well I have several ideas:

1. Lack of faith, which is manifested in lack of prayer for vocations. I am surprised to find how few people pray anymore for an increase of vocations to the consecrated life, even consecrated people seem to have given up, and prayer for vocations is either non-existent or at the very least not one of their priorities. NO PRAYER ---> NO VOCATIONS.

2. Lack of appreciation for the value of religious life. Many people are either ignorant about consecrated life and many others simply have a distorted image about consecrated life. The images that the media portrays about consecrated life are repulsive, uninviting, unattractive. Consecrated people and priests are depicted many times as being out of touch with life, living within a medieval frame of mind, closed off, out of date, repressed, mean, etc. Just the opposite of what consecrated life is in reality, although there are perhaps a small minority of individuals that could come close to fit the typical representations of the media. :-)

3. The emphasis on a distorted notion of freedom and the narcissistic trends of our culture, make difficult for young people to think beyond themselves and to make commitments. And this is the case for consecrated life, the priesthood, or marriage. People are simply afraid of making commitments, in fact, they are so concerned with themselves, that the notion of living for someone else seems foreign to many of them. To think of a life time commitment seems an unattainable goal. This emphasis on self and personal autonomy makes also very difficult for a young person to think that freedom can indeed be perfected through obedience after the example of Christ. The obsession with an undifferentiated personal freedom at any cost does not leave space for the understanding of a proper notion of freedom in so far as this one is and should always be ordered towards love.

4. The havoc that pornography has created in our youth, has destroyed many souls in the process and many possible vocations. Young people do not think is possible to live a vow of chastity. Chastity is certainly a medieval concept for many of them, archaic at the very least, out of touch with reality, simply impossible to live. The youth have been taught that they cannot discipline their desires, all they can do is to avoid the nasty consequences, and this mentality has perverted the sacred notion of sexuality and sex. So not only vocations to the consecrated life suffer but also the vocations to marriage. Due to lack of purity marriages also fail at greater rates every day.

5. The materialistic mentality of our society and the worship of technology, and the comforts of our society leave very little room for the appreciation of a life of poverty. Why rock the boat so to speak when you are so comfortable. Perhaps with the economic crisis that we are facing now some people may come to their senses and realize that material possessions are also elusive and therefore they cannot be ultimately the source of our confidence and happiness.

6. Lack of a true witness of consecrated people. Communities of consecrated life have adapted too well to their surrounding culture and the comforts and the commodities that this world offers, and do not present a radical witness or a real challenge to those young people that are seeking to give up their life for something worthwhile. So we as consecrated people have failed our youth, and I think it is important that we assess our lifestyle and do not conform to the standards of our society, but that we truly live our vows in a radical way, in a way that people can truly see in us Christ obedient, Christ poor and Christ chaste. The challenge is on us, those who have already committed ourselves to live this life.

7. Lack of prayer and silence on the part of the young people. In a world saturated with noise and information, young people are never silent, they always have their ipods, their iphones, their sound systems, their TVs, computers, bombarding them with all kinds of information and noise. How are they going to be able to listen to the voice of God? It certainly will be more difficult. Young people need to be challenged to reflect, to think, to pray, and to be able to do this they need silence, this is how the heart and the spirit really grow.

8. There are many other reasons, but the last one I will mention here is that young people are rarely invited to consider a vocation to the consecrated life or the priesthood, as a healthy, and possible way of life for them. Few of us priests preach about the beauty of consecrated life, if the reader happens to be a priest I would challenge you to consider honestly how often you preach and challenge young people to prayerfully consider the possibility of being called to live a consecrated life. How will they come unless they are also invited? So we have to have the courage to invite others and like the words of the Gospel often say, young people, DO NOT BE AFRAID, the Master is waiting for you :-)


  1. All good. I would add that since the vocation to marriage (both in fidelity and openness to life) has been in crisis since the late 1960s, it has led to the crisis in the religious/priestly vocation.

  2. I could never imagine my life without my husband and the religious life was never an option.

  3. My problem with the required 'consecrated religious life,' is that it cannot be justified by Scripture. In reality all believers in Christ are priests, reconciled to God through Christ. According to my understanding a leader in the church should be the husband of one wife and be able to rule his own household well. Marriage itself is also a state that requires from you unselfishness and living, working and caring for others; not only your marriage partner, but also for children to be brought up in the fear of God. Marriage asks from you to die to yourself, to live unselfishly, and to -- as an earthly father -- be a reflection of our loving Heavenly Father who protects and provides. In many ways remaining single can be far more selfish than being married. Granted that to remain single does afford one to be able to devote yourself to a greater extent to your relationship with God, but someone in that position, will eventually find it difficult to relate to the situation of others not in that position.

  4. The reason for the so-called 'crisis of vocations,' I believe is quite simple. Birth control. Previously Catholic families were large, and often even half of the siblings of a large family were given to the church by the parents to become nuns and priests. This I believe not to be justifiable, since it was not the personal conviction of those entering the vocation. Seldom was it a choice of the young ones themselves. Now that Catholic families are small, extra children for vocations simply do not exist for parents to give away. Now that children can choose for themselves, they simply do not choose to enter, which is in a way better than being forced into doing so, or what would you say?

    Coming back to the reason for small families: Irrespective of what type of birth control is used; the result will always be the same: Children are lost, and mostly the few remaining ones are brought up being materialistic, spoilt, and self-centered, which surely is not a recipe for sacrificial living in general.

    Natural family planning -- advocated and even taught in parishes -- being even more effective than other options; should from the beginning not have been approved by religious leaders. It is not Scriptural. It was a mistake. Until they repent and give sound leadership once more, the situation will not be rectified. The family will continue to disintegrate and all other forms of perversion will continue to proliferate.

    Rejecting all forms of birth control is the only Scriptural justifiable position. Children are a blessing from God, and He gave us the command to be fruitful and the multiply in the context of marriage between one man and one woman -- as it was in the very beginning.

  5. question-

    why should someone join the consecrated life? SOMEONE PLEASE ANSWER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! aNyOnE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. i like one direction do you? if you do who is your favorite? what is your directioner nickname? :): b a n a n a s if you know what i mean

  7. i have to poop so brb. ahhhhhhhhhhhhh... much better!!!! i love to sing and dance! aaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!! my sister peed in my bottle of nailpolish!!!!!!!!!! ewwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! follow me on instagram @yourpoochic!! do it and mention that your from this website!!!!! listen if you do i will give you what ever you want<--- a shoutout, a like(s), a friend!!!!!!!!! i also have a boyyfriend his name is Manny Prift. He is like super cute!!!!!!! im going to his house tonight and sleeping over, but they are kinda poor so we sleep together. i shower there too!!!!! they have this thing called deoderant, i really dont know what that is but, it tastes so good!!!!!!! he texted me on my phone #1 and he wanted to kiss me tonight when we sleep together!!!!!!!! im going to say "yes!!!!!!! kiss me all you want!" he wanted to fall asleep with us kissing so his parents could take a picture but i said no. i told him i wanted for us to fall asleep together with himm playing with my hair and kissing me! when we get older i want to marry him and have a lot of kids!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! im like so popular in school!!!!!!! i told my teaacher that since i have kissed all of the boys, that i wanted to have a smooch with him. you know those pictures with shirtless guys and just bra girls, well i wanted to kiss him like that way so he would fall in love with me. he said no and gave me a detention. but he wispered it so i think he wants to close the the blinds and lock the door so that we could have an extreme love area for a lot of kissing only. but he has a girlfriend. if you want follow me on twitter @yourpoochic. my account picture is me with just my bra and pants having an extreme kissing session with my harry styles poster!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! but im still very young says my parents!!!!!!!!!!!!!! im old enough to have twitter mom! im 8!!!!!!! OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! im at Mannys house and he only has his underwear on with a rose in his mouth!!!!!!!! he just told me he wanted to make out in front of his parents to convince them we are old enough to go a step further than a make out session. if you know what i mean!!!!!!!!!!! we are starting now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Omg! he took my shirt off and is touching my bra! he is now grabbing my hand and shoving it in his boxers!!!!!!!!!! my heart is racing!!!!!!!! ok we are done kissing and almost naked in front of his parents waiting for the results!!!! O M G!!!!!! they said yes!!!!!!!!!! we are definetly practicing an extreme make out not even a makout but way further if you know what i mean tonight! but his parents said that if i wanted to take of my bra, they would have to watch us do it! what do i do!!!!!!! i know! when im done, ill tell my teacher i know how to kiss!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i will post a picture of us having _ _ _ on instagram when we are naked!!! now his parents want us to take a shower together!!!!!!!!!!! im going to go in with a bra on and then take it off so it ooks cool to him. then push him against the wall and kiss him by!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!