“God never so abandons His Church, that apt ministers are not to be found sufficient for the need of the people: if the worthy are promoted and the unworthy set aside” (St. Thomas, ST Suppl. q.36, art 4, ad1um).
These words of the Angelic doctor express a deep truth of the Supernatural economy. The Redeemer of men deigned to be in need of men for the spread of God’s Kingdom on earth. He saves men through men. He chose and chooses apostles and priests to do with Him and continue after Him the work of teaching, ruling and sanctifying to be the lights of the world and the salt of the earth. He calls others, men & women to dedicate their lives to Him and to His Kingdom and by prayer, penance and the tasks of the apostolate work with Him and for Him in the practice of the evangelical counsels.
During His earthly life, Our Lord recruited his helpers directly and visibly. He called fishermen, Peter and Andrew, John and James “And Jesus walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea. And he said to them: Come ye after me, and I will make you to be fishers of men. And they immediately leaving their nets, followed him. (Mt. 4 18-22). He called Matthew “sitting at the receipt of custom; and he said to him: Follow me. And rising up, he followed him”. (Mark 214)
Today even in the world where silent apostasy reigns, He still ‘makes the call’. He normally does not do so in a visible manner. He usually attracts (and calls) interiorly those whom He chooses. He makes His will and desire known through the aptitudes He endows them with, the circumstances in which He places them, the desires His grace inspires in their souls. But in order that the seeds of the vocation sown in their hearts may grow and bring forth the desired fruit, He expects the cooperation of the parents, priests in the training of the young. These aptitudes for a priestly vocation must be consciously cultivated, the aspirations fostered: then only will God’s call be heard and answered. It is task of all Christian faithful to promote these vocations.
We must earnestly ask ourselves whether we have fulfilled our duty towards our youth in accordance with the wishes and directions of Our Lord. It takes normally 6 years for a young man to go through the seminary formation and become a priest. Since 2011, we have not had another Indian priest (and for the district of Asia, for that matter). And the next one in line is far from the finishing line. What can we do? or rather what must we do? Whose fault is it that the call of Our Lord goes unheeded amongst our Indian youths. It is rather a serious question and it is why I would like to raise the alarm bell. We can’t go on forever like this. It is the moment that we should do something about it.
On the question of finding proper means to raise vocations, well, it is not a complicated one. There are no theological subtleties, divergent opinions on this. It is quite simple. Our Lord has given us a means: “The harvest indeed is great but the labourers are few. Pray ye, therefore the Lord of the harvest that He send labourers into His harvest. "(Luke 102)”.
This is what Our Lord insists: to pray fervently. It is interesting to know that the Church has always insisted on this very important duty of the Catholics to foster vocation. Pope Pius XII, for example has established a Pontifical work for fostering, safeguarding ecclesiastical vocation. It was erected for the purpose of ‘arousing in the faithful the desire of fostering, preserving and helping vocation and of spreading a correct knowledge of the dignity and necessity of the Catholic priesthood, and for uniting the faithful of all parts of the world in prayer and pious practices’. (AAS 1941, 479)
And that is why, dear faithful I would like to ask you, by your prayers and penances to contribute your share to an increase in the ranks of the clergy. To this effect, I invite all of you to recite the enclosed prayer on every 1st Fridays and to fast on that day as well, for this noble intention.
Let us entrust this sacred cause to ‘the maternal care of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the queen of Apostles and to the guardianship of St. Joseph, the Patron of the Universal Church.’ (AAS, 1943 p. 370)
Fr. Therasian Babu
Prayer for Vocations
O God, Who wishes all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth, send forth, we beseech Thee, labourers into the harvest; inspire many young hearts with the generous desire of devoting their lives to Thy service; grant that there may be a great increase in the number and sanctity of vocations to the Priesthood and to the Religious Life so that Thy Holy Name may be glorified and many souls may be brought to know and serve Thee, the One True God and Him Whom Thou hast sent, Jesus Christ Thy Son, our Lord.