Question of adding up. The new call for the animation of vocations: “The truth does matter, a lot...” (5/10)

The pastoral ministry of vocation animation, in the exercise of its mission, understands itself as a listening and accompaniment service so that the truth of the person who accompanies it comes to light.
Fabián Martín Gómez Pastoral | 2018 Dec 06

Wonderful things happen in our world. Among people there are amazing events that show us how our motivations help us to grow and obtain goals. I will share a particular case. At the 1996 Olympic Games in Jena, Thuringia (Germany), a record was broken that, to date, nobody has overcome. It's about the javelin throw. Athlete Jan Zelezny from the Czech Republic reached a distance of 98.48 meters. The athletes who came closest to that distance in this competition, reached just 92 meters.

The event, by the way, caught the attention of journalists. Those who managed to interview the winner, asked what he had done to break the record. The journalists expected him to mention the endless hours of training, to talk about the amount of sacrifices he had to make to maintain his physical condition or even highlight the role of the coach. However, most were baffled by the response he gave them.
Jan Zelezny revealed the secret of his strength. He mentioned that besides training hard, making several sacrifices to have a healthy and vigorous physical condition, and having a good coach, the key was in his inner strength. He shared that in preparing to develop the javelin throwing exercise within the competition, his goal was to hit the sun with the javelin. Yes, the goal of his goal was nonsense. But the conviction of being able to achieve it was what made the difference compared to the other competitors.
Most people set goals and we set goals, and this helps us to walk, grow and give the best of ourselves. However, there are those who stress that the tendency of minimal effort, comfort and mediocrity is accentuated as a characteristic of the younger generations. The problem of conformism is that there is a danger of annulling the inner strength that allows a person to become the best person he can be. We can ask ourselves, what is it that activates this inner strength that leads to growth, maximizing human potential?

There can be many realities that activate motivations, such as: need, desire, aspirations, tastes, development of one's own abilities, being successful, being famous, etc... All these realities and many others are part of the inner world of people and how they are situated between life and are prepared to do something great, dignified and beautiful with their existence. One of the areas that come together in a young person's life is learning to manage all these motivations and, through them, to open the way for the possibilities in life. In this sense, the vocational animators contribute to help unleash and guide this inner strength.

Thus, the pastoral care of vocations is a service of accompaniment to those who understand that a small help, an orientation or the simple exercise of listening can help a lot in the search of their vocation. Vocational animators are, by their own vocation, companions on the road especially at the most critical moments: when things are not very clear, it is hard to make a decision, when one's heart has not been heard enough, there are doubts, fears, when there are problems between what you want and what you can or, simply, when you are maturing how to give meaning and direction to one’s life.

Among the different realities of inner motivations and what moves a person to discover how to do something great and wonderful with their life, vocational animators give priority to one: "the profound truth of the person ". A vocational companion knows from his own experience that a solid identity is built only on truth. We are not talking about an abstract truth, metaphysical or focused only on the capacity of knowing. On the contrary, it is a truth that gives us the inner certainty that we are doing what is right, just and good with our life.

Unfortunately, young people can lose the inner strength that leads them to project their life giving their all. What could be the threat that provokes a flight away from inner strength? living in a lie, living comfortably in a lie. To some extent it can be scary to live in the truth because it forces you to take risks and to trust, but without it we can hardly live in truth. Apparently a lie can solve a conflict, but the only thing it does is postpone it or make things more difficult.

A vocation has a lot to do with the value of living in the truth, of letting the congruence between what we think, say and do reflect our deepest and most personal convictions. If we do not do so, we end up betraying ourselves and selling ourselves to the approval of others for a little recognition and applause. But, yes, dissatisfied and disgusted with oneself. There is something that people cannot negotiate because if we do, we cross a threshold of difficult return, that is, be true to ourselves; without this, we lose inner peace.

The pastoral care for the animation of vocations has understood little by little, inspired by the Gospel, that its mission is to be a service to the truth of the person; it listens to and accompanies the process by which the young person is fitting the different parts of his inner world in the design of an image of himself, by which he becomes willing to do everything, even to lose his own self. The vocation animator is there to help discern, that is, to recognize, understand and help choose, the lifestyle that leads him to give the best of himself, according to this undeniable intuition of his life united in Christ.

Sometimes the vocational promoters have been reproached for wanting to convince others, according to a person's profile, to be this or that, especially if it was "bringing the water to the mill itself". However, according to the vision of the new style of animation of vocations, the vocational animator accompanies with great respect and delicacy the search path of those he accompanies. The important thing is that the young person comes to understand and interpret what God is asking of him and can make a free decision for one lifestyle or another, in response to that divine call.

A disciple and friend of Jesus Christ keeps in his heart the certainty that only Jesus can show him the true meaning of his life. Jesus is the truth and his words puts us before the truth of our own life and allows us to grow in freedom, because the truth makes us free; Jesus makes us free and authentic. Jesus was born and came into the world to witness the truth. And the words of Jesus do us a lot of good because it reminds us how much we settle comfortably in the realm of lies. Responding to a vocation, in this sense, becomes a process of liberation in Jesus. Meeting Jesus and the truth that he projects on our life makes us experience joy, because it gives us the inner strength that we need to be brave and to live in the truth, to be authentic and sincere; to give the best of ourselves, no matter whatever we do and whatever path we travel.


Fabián Martín Gómez, agustino recoleto

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