The following was written by Fr. Gary Dailey, the Director of Vocations in the Springfield (MA) Diocese and is an excerpt from the July/ August 2014 edition of the Catholic Mirror. To visit the Springfield Diocese's vocation page, please visit www.myvocation.com.
Is there a vocation crisis in the Catholic Church?
Having a vocation crisis would imply that God is not calling men to the priesthood or women to the consecrated life as he did in the past. That is just not the case.
The problem exists not in God but in us. We are not listening. Our phone is constantly busy or even off the hook. Many are not attuned to the voice of the Good Shepherd who calls out, "Come, follow me."
We, in fact, have a "listening" crisis and a "commitment crisis." Silencing our lives to hear the call of the Shepherd is very difficult for many in our society. Many refuse to enter into holy silence because of the fear of discovering something that might not be in their life plans or something that would require a radical change or conversion. . . .
If one does "hear" the call, then oftentimes the "commitment" becomes the challenge. . . .We need to trust that God has our back and if he calls us to serve in his name, then we have nothing to fear; he will provide all that we need to fulfill our mission.
Vocations are everyone's business. As a church, we need to pray fervently for vocations. Jesus said in Matthew's Gospel, Chapter 9:37: "The harvest is good, but laborers are scarce, beg the harvest master to send laborers to gather his harvest." The operative word is "beg." It is not a suggestion, but a command to "beg" or pray for vocations.
If you are wondering why there are not enough priests to serve in your parish or in the diocese, then you must answer the question, "Do you pray regularly for vocations?" What are you doing as a Catholic to promote priestly and women religious vocations? . . .
Catholics everywhere need to be ambassadors of Christ, leading our youth to him, inviting the to recognize a possible call to serve as priests and vowed religious sisters and brothers.