In his homily for the World Day of Prayer for the Consecrated Life in 2020, Pope Francis said, "Men and women religious, who live to imitate Jesus, are called to bring their own gaze into the world, a gaze of compassion, a gaze that goes in search of those far-off; a gaze that does not condemn, but encourages, frees, consoles; a gaze of compassion." That Jesus had compassion on the people is something that we hear more than once in the gospels.
The more we come to know Jesus through praying with the gospels, the more we recognize his compassionate love for us individually and for all the world. Young people who want to know God's plan for their lives would be helped in their discernment by placing themselves in Christ's loving gaze. There they can come to know more of who they are and the gifts that they could be using to 'encourage, free and console' others in the form of life that is their vocation.
For myself, I grew up in a Catholic family in which prayer, participation in Mass and helping others nourished my faith. By Gr. 10, I was certain that God wanted me to be a Sister and since many of our teachers were Faithful Companions of Jesus and I was attracted by their way of living, I asked to enter in the middle of Gr. 11. The training I received to pray with Scripture and the courses I took over the years to understand the Bible more all enabled me to develop a deeper relationship with Jesus. By living the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience in community, I have been gifted with countless experiences with people of different cultures in different countries.
We religious pray often that more young men and women will hear God calling them to serve him through a lifetime of dedication as priests, brothers or sisters. If those young people feel drawn to a particular way of serving, they are encouraged to contact one or more of the communities in our diocese. They may find a sense of being at home when the spirit of a given community matches the gift of the individual.
Please join us in prayer for vocations to the priesthood and religious life especially on February 2, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, and on the weekend of Feb. 6-7, the World Day of Prayer for the Consecrated Life.
Catholic Pastoral Centre Staff and Guest Writers