Question of adding up. The new call for the animation of vocations: The value of witness in vocational animation ... (10/10)

Those Christian communities that are determined to live and celebrate their own vocation, to establish solid and warm fraternal relationships, to live the life of prayer, to welcome people with delicacy and affability, and to live the commitment in the mission, in these communities is possible that authentic Christian vocations arise.
Fabián Martín Gómez Pastoral | 2019 Jan 24

Question of adding up. The new call for the animation of vocations: The value of witness in vocational animation ... (10/10)

Those Christian communities that are determined to live and celebrate their own vocation, to establish solid and warm fraternal relationships, to live the life of prayer, to welcome people with delicacy and affability, and to live the commitment in the mission, in these communities is possible that authentic Christian vocations arise.

There are difficult questions in life that have already been answered and that are book titles: Is it possible to pray after Auschwitz? Yes, it is possible to pray after the concentration camps in Auschwitz because there people prayed. Enzo Bianchi answers this question in his book "How to pray, why pray". Is it possible to believe after Freud? Yes, it is possible to believe after Freud because we understood that God is a loving Father in, through and beyond the conflicts with our biological father. Carlos Domínguez answers this question in his work "Is it possible to believe after Freud?"

There is also today a question that awaits an answer: Is it possible to animate vocations in the Catholic Church after cases of pedophilia? For my part, I will say shortly that it is possible to encourage vocations in the Church despite the anti-testimony because the Catholic Church has turned, as never before, to the protection of children and adolescents. In addition, fundamentally, the animation of vocations is possible because the joyful, simple, close, passionate and enthusiastic witness of many Christians clears the darkness and the shadow that hangs over the Church.

Vocational witness is an essential dimension of the animation of vocations. A vocation ministry that does not have clear testimonies and its convinced of its own vocation, is like chocolate without sugar, food without salt and personal relationships without spontaneity. The pastoral care of the animation of vocations needs the witness of vocations as life needs the spark that ignites new challenges to be passionate about and put on the road.

Vocational animation hardly works without the extra surprise and unpredictability of relationships, which starts from the trust that others manage to inspire. Today, as always, vocation ministry has appeal and beauty because of the evangelical radicality with which believers live their condition as disciples and missionaries of Jesus Christ, whatever the vocation to which they have been called.

I have to confess that often-vocational promoters and animators go through crises, that is, critical moments, real crossroads that require us to grow in faith. When the vocation animators accompany young, excited, enthusiastic youth with great potential, generous and willing to any resignation, we wonder if the Christian and religious communities will be at the height of the new life, the new wine, the novelty that the Holy Spirit brings with them to the consecrated life.

One of the sins of the vocational promoter, especially thinking about the vocation to the consecrated life, is when he lets the following question invade him with anguish: why open the doors of our communities if young people will find in many of them a mediocre life style, boring and sad. The temptation is to be discouraged and, the challenge, to build together beautiful fraternal communities from the realism itself, but also from the illusion, the evangelical inspiration and the help of the Spirit of the risen Jesus.

The Holy Spirit calls and gives the fruit of vocation in the Christian communities in which He himself encourages the life of faith and the vocation of the people of the community. Moreover, peace, joy, good understanding, affable treatment and cordial relations are a sure sign that the Spirit dwells in the hearts of believers. On the other hand, envy, jealousy, rivalry, struggle, and the desire for power are manifestations of evil, which scare, discourage and frighten. In the life of the Christian community, everything is not white, nor is everything thank God, black. However, it is everyone's job to build Christian communities that attract vocations because of their testimony.

As religious communities, we would often have to review the quality of our encounter with God in prayer, of our fraternal relationships and of dealing with the people we serve and to whom we should give ourselves generously. It sounds harsh, but even so, it has to be mentioned: the vocations that we scare discourage or frighten by our negligence, carelessness or lack of Christian delicacy, are vocations that we do not deserve even if the Spirit arouses them in our midst.

We may be sad to see that fewer young people enter our homes of formation. However, let us not deceive ourselves: an environment where warm fraternal relations do not prevail, where the Gospel is not central and where an obvious option for the poor and needy is not made, vocations will hardly arise. Simply, the testimony is missing, that is, the spark, the salt, the surprise and the charm of our own vocation. Testimony is crucial, because a good testimony encourages and a bad testimony discourages; a good testimony inspires security and a bad testimony generates rejection; a good testimony invites confidence and a bad testimony turns away... 

Fabian Martin Gomez, Augustinian Recollect

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