By Sister Marla Marie Lucas
In speaking with parents about vocations, many are often reluctant to have one of their children devote their lives as a nun or priest. Yet at the same time, they are happy if someone else’s son or daughter is called to serve. These same parents readily acknowledge the need for vocations - as long as it is not one of their own. After all, they have plans for their son or daughter which perhaps include a future grandchildren, maybe a business or medical career.
I try to gently remind them that God also has plans. God's plan for our life is what we call a vocation. It is a blessing and honor to have a son/daughter called by God to the vocation of a priest or a religious.
Join me in prayer for parents and young people to have an open heart and mind to God's call, and to respond with trust and generosity.
Pope John Paul II realized this struggle for some parents, and spoke to them in his Apostolic Constitution on Consecrated Life (1996).
“I address you, Christian families. Parents, give thanks to the Lord if he has called one of your children to the consecrated life. It is to be considered a great honor — as it always has been — that the Lord should look upon a family and choose to invite one of its members to set out on the path of the evangelical counsels! Cherish the desire to give the Lord one of your children so that God's love can spread in the world. What fruit of conjugal love could be more beautiful than this?
We must remember that if parents do not live the values of the Gospel, the young man or woman will find it very difficult to discern the calling, to understand the need for the sacrifices which must be faced, and to appreciate the beauty of the goal to be achieved. For it is in the family that young people have their first experience of Gospel values and of the love which gives itself to God and to others. They also need to be trained in the responsible use of their own freedom, so that they will be prepared to live, as their vocation demands, in accordance with the loftiest spiritual realities.
I pray that you, Christian families, united with the Lord through prayer and the sacramental life, will create homes where vocations are welcomed.”