This week, the Catholic Church in the United States spends time promoting vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
Every person has a vocation; a calling in life to be the person God has intended you to be. Our callings are as unique as our fingerprints. Discovering your vocation, a process called discernment, takes careful consideration, quiet contemplation, prayer and dedication. It also takes courage to say “yes” to God’s call.
Father Casey Cole, OFM, has become something of a YouTube sensation. His “Breaking the Habit” YouTube Channel has over 149,000 subscribers. Each year, during Vocations Awareness Week, Father Casey produces a video about pursuing your vocation. In the past, he’s encouraged parents, family and friends to support men and women with a vocation to the priesthood or religious life. He’s responded to common excuses as to why people “say no” to God’s call. Father Casey has dispelled myths about religious life and the vocation to the priesthood.
This year, Father Casey’s video is a stark departure. He addresses Vocations Directors with some challenging realities. The tone of his video is compassionate and understanding, yet also pointed.
Father Casey makes it clear that, despite popular misconceptions, Catholic vocations to the priesthood and religious life are growing. “The vocations are out there,” he states.
Father Casey’s unambiguous statement is backed up by the fact that more men are entering the seminary. Compared to 10 years ago many religious communities are growing. The communities that are growing offer a distinctly different life from that of a married couple or a single person. Religious orders attracting vocations offer a challenging and extraordinary experience, centered on a rich and committed prayer life, community and a clear witness to a radical departure from a “regular” life.
The Catholic priesthood and religious life is different. It is a unique call. But many religious communities attempt to attract men and women by minimizing the differences between lay life and the ordained priesthood or the life of a religious. The priesthood and religious life is so much more than an experience “pretty much” like lay life.
Religious life and the priesthood are about having a clear sense of mission and identity, distinct and different from other vocations. If the priesthood or religious life was “pretty much the same,” then why bother? Father Cole notes that religious communities that are growing have many things in common, including a commitment to wearing religious habits, which is a sign of evangelization that is needed more than ever in an increasingly vain and superficial culture.
The Norbertines at Daylesford Abbey invite young people to consider a vocation and we invite young men to consider life as a Norbertine. We enjoy a committed community life centered on the Eucharist and prayer. As a community, we chant the Divine Office each day. We celebrate Mass together. We share meals together. We live in communio and from our community, we minister to the local church in parishes, in schools and in social service organizations.
The Norbertine charism is one of bringing peace and reconciliation to the church and to the world. We provide witness to this commitment by wearing our distinct, white habit in our daily lives. Our life is a stark departure from the life lived in the “outside” world. Our life is committed and dedicated, structured and centered on community prayer, and focused on serving the Church and the world.
The Norbertine Order was founded by St. Norbert 900 years ago. For almost a millennium, we have been a source of reform in the Church. We seek to heal divisions among people. We work for peace.
Consider your vocation carefully. God is calling each and everyone of us to be fully alive as He intended. Learn more about the vocation discernment process by clicking here.