Living a busy lifestyle with unceasing demands from work, friends, family and society, we often think of the word ‘vacation’ more than ‘vocation’. VAcation can have different meanings to many people; but in general , the definition from the Cambridge dictionary defines vacation as ‘a time when someone does not go to work or school but is free to do what they want, such as travel or relax.’ The word vOcation is defined as ‘a type of work that you feel you are suited to doing and to which you should give all your time and energy, or the feeling that a type of work suits you in this way.’
During the first week of August every year, the Australian Church invites us to reflect on the word ‘vocation’ on a deeper level: not ‘as a type of work that you feel you are suited’, but as the work in which your lives filled with and guided by the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of the Church in serving one another with a passionate heart.
National Vocations Awareness Week calls the whole church community to pray for an increase in vocations, and to support and encourage those discerning their vocation. We pray for young people in our community and our families that they may be inspired by Jesus Christ and the gospel, supported by our faith community, and that the Holy Spirit may enlighten and give them the grace and courage to respond to God’s call.
Pope Francis recently encouraged all Catholics to contemplate their vocation, but in a particular way he called on young men and women to be courageous and generous in embarking, just as the first disciples did, on a vocation to the priesthood. The Pope acknowledged that answering the Lord’s call demands the courage to take a risk. “I invite everyone,” he said, “to ask the Lord for the gift of good labourers for His Kingdom, with hearts and hands open to His love.”
If you are a young man or woman who feels God is calling you to religious life, come and have a chat or email Fr Trac and I can help you discern and point you in the right direction. Let us journey with you, do not be afraid to answer His call. “The Teacher is here… and He is asking for you.” (Jn 11:28).
In this National Vocations Awareness Week, let us also pray for all families in our parishes, and for those preparing for marriage. Let us pray that our parish community may always be welcoming and encouraging of vocations to marriage, priesthood and consecrated life.
By Fr Trac Nguyen