My ongoing research in Catherine's writings, in service of a book I hope to write over the next year of so, is turning up forgotten gems on various topics. From time to time I like to 'hand over' the blog to her and share some of these treasures.
Sunday, June 14, 2015
This article is from our newspaper Restoration, from November 1964. It is on the difficult subject of vocation recruitment. Catherine has her own ideas about this topic, and is happy to share them here, after the break. Enjoy!
I wish I knew why I get sad and disturbed when I read about the discussions that take place so often in “VOCATIONAL RECRUITING SESSIONS,” both on a national and inter-national scale—and even quite often, on a regional scale—by priests, nuns, and lay apostles throughout the world.
Why is it that the ads that fill our Catholic magazines on the same topic disturb me?
I have tried to analyze this, for I am interested in vocations to Madonna House Apostolate with its two Institutes, comprising priests, lay men and women, all of whom enter a life of total dedication under the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.
I have never advertised our Apostolate from the point of view of “recruiting” vocations for it. Our Directorate has not been present at any of those conferences. Perhaps because no one asked us to, or perhaps for other reasons. Yet, the Lord seemed to send us quite a few vocations throughout the years.
True, we could use many more, for as always, the harvest is ripe and the laborers are few. The demands for our teams, and our Apostolate, always exceed the amount of people ready to fulfill those requests.
But it seems to me that even this is within what I call to myself, “the time table of God.” When things get tight, very tight, the only way I know of to increase our numbers is fasting and prayer.
For when all is said and done, the Giver of Vocations is the Holy Spirit. It seems to me that it is to Him that we must turn. It is under His luminous light that we must examine constantly our consciences and see what it is in us, in our Institutes, that might be corrected, that might be changed, that He might wish us to correct and change before He sends us more vocations.
Prayer, fasting, and constant examination of the collective consciences of an Apostolate, I think, are the foundations of increased vocations. And one could very well understand regional, national, and inter-national conferences dedicated to that sort of discussions. Concerned mostly with how to do these fundamental things better.
Another answer that comes to me is truth. I mean telling the truth. Stripping it of all the garments of verbiage, of compromise, of rationalization. Starkly and directly, youth should be told that they are called to be crucified, that only through their crucifixion, their dying to self, directly and simply, without any compromise, will they allow Christ to do His work through them in the world. For we cannot restore the world to God as all of us dedicated to Him must—He will restore His world to Himself if we get out of His way!
Which is simply another way of saying that we must die to self, that we must truly understand that we are re-born in Christ, and that we must be a clear channel through which His will and ways go unimpeded.
I read recently an ad of the Peace Corps which features a tumbled down shack—good photography too—and calls it “glamorous living.” It features also a photograph of a bowl of rice, plain and unadorned. The caption beneath says, “Exotic foods.” A battered bicycle is photographed next and called “Modern transportation.”
Under those three photographs, the following appeal is listed. “The Peace Corps offers you 16 hours work a day. Endless monotony. No visible results, except the knowledge that because you went, a child in Africa learned to read. A girl in Asia learned to nurse, etc., etc. You will be eaten up by mosquitoes, but you will know that a farmer in India will have, at long last, a chicken with some meat on it, because you came. It isn’t easy to get into the Peace Corps, but write to us so that we can check you out.”
I condensed a little this short legend under the photographs, but that is what it amounts to. Again I ask myself why does the Peace Corps, which functions on humanitarian grounds only, officially, attract so many with such stark, naked truth.
I want to know why Catholic vocations are not made attractive, by the same truths lifted up into the Heart of Christ, by a motivation a million times greater than any Peace Corps can have? Could it be because we hate to see truth naked?
We are afraid to show youth a naked Christ, crucified on a Cross, and tell them that if they want to be all His, they will have to be stripped of all the unnecessary garments of self, and be crucified, that only then will they lift up the world to Him.
Fasting, prayer, examination of the collective conscience of those who are in charge of vocations, and stark naked truths about vocations to religious, priestly, and totally dedicated lay apostolic life, seem to me the only answer that will work in our day, when youth, on all fronts, seeks truth without adornment.