As a kid, I figured out what Halloween is all about. You want to hit the jackpot on all the candy and have a pillowcase full of the good stuff? Focus less on the costume and more on the jokes.
It’s a St. Louis thing.
I would saunter up to a house, say the usual “Trick or Treat” and then yell:
Me: Want to hear a joke?
Me: The Chicago Cubs!
Worked every time.
This week is Vocation Awareness Week. As we commemorate All Saints (All Hallows), for the way in which God used them to spread the Good News in their particular place and time, it’s also a good week to help people consider a call to be a priest, brother or sister.
But just like Halloween, we can get distracted by all the decorations, candies and costumes. If we’re going to get to the good stuff, really helping others know their vocation, we need to put aside all the fluff so they can help us — and many others — get to heaven.
Here are three ways one can become aware of their vocation, God’s call:
• Fall in love with Jesus
• Become a disciple
• Action: follow Him
First, we need to fall in love with Jesus. Our teachers have taught us so much about Jesus. The next step for all of us is to take that knowledge and fall in love with Him. Jesus is real! Alive! He’s not stuck in a book or on Sunday morning! He loves us and wants us to receive that love more fully. “Fall in love, stay in love. It will decide everything,” Father Pedro Arrupe, SJ, once said.
Second, we have to become disciples of Jesus. A disciple doesn’t work for Jesus, or volunteer at the parish to be noticed. No, a disciple is filled with love! Aware of one’s weakness, a disciple goes out anyway, stumbling and bumbling. Disciples learn from the Rabbi, the Teacher. We sit at His feet, try to listen to what He is saying. This is discernment!
Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski recently spoke to young adults at Theology on Tap (see page 2). He encouraged the attendees: “(The words of the Gospel) should make us move toward action. In doing that we really make Christ present in the world…. You are the beacons that can show others what living a life of faith really means.”
And that’s the third step: Follow Him. When we fall in love with Jesus and learn from Him, He will make clear how we can continue to love and serve. We might be scared or unsure, but the Lord will equip us, just as He has done for all the saints.
My prayer for our archdiocese is for more young men and women to be open to the Lord’s call, particularly those called to be our parish priests, to serve as religious brothers and sisters. If I can help you sort through this in any way, give me a call or email. As always: no pressure!
Father Fallon is director of vocations for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. He may be contacted at [email protected] or (314) 792.6460.