We live in a world that is always seeking to build environments that are "friendly." We want movies and programs to be family-friendly so as to be appropriate for anyone's entertainment. We want items and practices to be eco-friendly so that we can help protect our environment.
What about being "vocation-friendly"? Are our parishes, schools, homes and even our own lives places that are conducive to accepting and doing God's will?
This world can make it difficult to follow the Lord. There are so many voices calling or screaming to us, telling us to do this or that, come here or go there - many of which are competing against our Lord's call. So what is he calling us to?
All of us share in the universal vocation (call) to holiness. We answer this call by giving ourselves totally to the Lord, by saying yes to him daily, and by conforming our lives according to his divine life. We are to live this life in the hope of the life to come, since our ultimate vocation is to be united with the Lord in the joy of his kingdom. We journey the path to that kingdom by living the specific vocation that God has called us to: married, single, religious or ordained life.
Living good and holy lives at home, in school, in the work place and everywhere else will naturally open us up to God and allow us to say yes to his will over our own will. When we live out this holiness in a real, perceivable and unapologetic way, we find that we are then building a vocation-friendly culture. This culture helps men and women to live in mutual and lasting fidelity through marriages that are open to the gift of life. It enables those in the single life to continue to seek the Lord's call with an open heart or to persevere in holiness for those who have chosen to remain single. This culture enables and encourages men and women to dedicate themselves to the service of God, and of their sisters and brothers, through consecrated life and the priesthood. A vocation-friendly culture is vital and necessary for the life of the church now more than ever.
Walking the path of holiness is not always easy, but none of us walks it alone: spouses and parents, those in the single life, religious brothers and sisters, deacons, priests, and bishops - all of us journey together. Let us do what we can to help each other along the way.
We need to work together to build and maintain a vocation-friendly culture; a culture of "yes" in our church, responding to God just as Mary, our Blessed Mother, did. May she pray for us, so that we, like her, may live a continual "yes" to God's will in our own lives.
Father Christopher House is the diocesan vocation director. He holds a pontifical licentiate degree in sacramental/liturgical theology.