Joy Can Shape Our Future
It’s no secret that the idea of dedicating one’s life totally to God is deeply countercultural. It can be disheartening to see the nearly universal depiction of priests and religious on prime-time TV as people who have failed to live up to their vocations. When we see the aging face of diocesan clergy, it’s hard not to worry about the future of the Church. We rack our brains for ways we can make a difference, but all too often we come up woefully short. These words serve as a rallying cry to all who are forming the next generation of the Church: “Healthy vocations come from healthy families.”
It is good and necessary to pray for vocations, to support our priests and religious communities both financially and with words of affirmation. Yet the most important thing any of us can do to encourage vocations is to live our own faith to the fullest. A vocation is an incremental thing, nurtured in daily life and blossoming one petal at a time. It is rooted in cuddles and family game nights, in patience, in mutual respect, and in “I’m sorry, I really screwed that one up. Will you forgive me?” It grows when families gather to celebrate holidays and reunions, when the love of cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents flows from every word and every shared laugh—and sometimes, in healthy conflict resolution.