How can we encourage priestly vocations in our families? (1)

Source: District of Canada

Priestly Ordinations at Ecône

Convinced of the greatness of the priesthood and of the religious vocation, perhaps some mothers devote themselves assiduously to the recitation of the Mothers' Prayer for Vocations every first Sunday of the month; what a good resolution, of course, to want in this way to encourage the blossoming of many vocations within our families; but of course, we should not believe that a priestly vocation is then assured in the home within a few years....

Let us not forget that in addition to reciting this little prayer, the mothers of the village of Lu in Italy have obtained so many vocations, perhaps above all through the hour of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament to which they had committed themselves on the first Thursday of each month! Let us always remember that a priestly or religious vocation comes from the supernatural order, and that it will be fostered above all by a supernatural work: that is to say, by works carried out under the effect of the virtue of charity, by works that flow from a deep interior life in the family. 

Even if vocation in the strict and formal sense consists in the call of the bishop at the time of the ordination ceremony to respond to the need for priests for the Church, it must be recognized that in many cases, in the history of priestly vocations, the first thought of this great and beautiful destiny is encountered during the few years at the end of primary school or the beginning of secondary school ; many priests today could testify to this little interior "call" from God when they were between 7 and 10 years of age... A call that is so important in their journey, especially at the time of adolescence or the end of secondary school where it seems that the whole of life is offered to them with all its ideals and perspectives (one then dreams of all sorts of professions that could help one's personal growth...), Indeed, this little divine spark of a few years ago may perhaps allow this adolescent to rest before God the question of the priestly vocation this time in a more proximate and concrete way, but also in a confident and assured way, because this question will not be new to him in the end... 

But once again, this little voice will be all the more perceptible to the child because the parents will have been keen to do everything possible to encourage it. With these few lines, we would like to help parents to realize that the blossoming of a vocation in a family (which always has a mysterious aspect because it is supernatural, which surpasses us) will be due in part to the atmosphere that the parents will have known how to install in their home. There are truly some habits of life that favour the blossoming of vocations, others, on the contrary, unfortunately hinder them, or at least delay them or make them fragile if there are any. 

But how can we have an idea of this? For this reason it is perhaps opportune to know what a child who already has a certain attraction for the consecrated life should do (ideally), and how, therefore, to favour this journey (without falling into the pitfall of having a vocation in his place, which could lead him to believe wrongly that he has a vocation). 

(to be continued)

Father François-Régis de Bonnafos