Monday, August 6, 2007

Fostering Vocations in the Family

There are a number of experiences I had as a child that helped me appreciate the beauty of a religious vocation and begin to understand why (and how) people give their entire lives to the Church as a priest, nun or religious. I hope to give these sorts of experiences to my own children in order to help them accept a religious vocation if it is God's will.

First, I had a lot of interaction with priests and nuns as a child. (One very strong argument for the importance of the religious habit is the way it sets apart priests and nuns in the eyes of children as "special".) I was taught by nuns in Catholic grade school and my family was friends with a number of priests (we had them over to our house for dinner on occasion, etc.).

Second, the detachment from material goods that my parents lived in word and example made it easier to accept the idea that the meaning of life isn't about how much money you make.

Third, several particular incidents put me in awe of the beauty of a religious vocation. One in particular was an opportunity I had in college to sing with a small choir for the 50th Jubilee Mass of a cloistered Carmelite nun. Not only was the Mass beautiful, inspiring and grace-filled, but we were able to meet Sister Elizabeth of the Trinity and talk with her for a little while. I can't begin to express how beautiful, happy and kind she was and the strong impression that made upon me.

Finally, the lives of the Saints are a powerful way for children to grow up with the ideas that will allow them to say yes to God some day.

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