The realities and challenges of vocation ministry

As I get more acquainted with vocation ministry, I realise that among vocation ministers, in our meetings and our informal conversations, we have a common question, that is, how to become more effective in doing this ministry.  Effectiveness, in this sense, means that in doing this apostolate we eventually get vocations for our respective communities.  In our aim to promote vocations to the ordained ministry and religious life, we make an effort to stimulate and cultivate a climate of vocation awareness.

Pray for vocations

I implore the Lord for more vocations

Working in this ministry is seemingly “doing nothing” especially when no one comes and joins our congregation.  There is a danger of getting into a trap of feeling “unfulfilled”.  At times I can be judgmental of people in terms of the priorities to satisfy: material needs and the personal need for interiority and a sense of God.  There are questions that arise within me to ponder on, to express and to seek an answer, if truly necessary.  Is the Church no longer alluring to the promising youth of today?  Do they still care for Christian formation?  Are priests’ example of fidelity and the joyful witnessing of the consecrated and religious Sisters no longer an attraction that can give vitality to this new generation?

I am in a western world society which tends to stress so much on profitability in order to keep going in life.  The world has so much to offer: comfort, pleasure and innumerable kinds of vanities.  Because of these many people, especially among the youth, are wounded by all sorts of crises.

I was once present at a gathering of young people on a quest for meaning, along with youth workers, vocation ministers, school guidance counsellors and social workers.  It was a pity to see the grief within the youth – yet we cannot blame them entirely.  Our society contributes a lot to this.   Despite this, I still believe that many young people are continuing to walk the journey of faith once they get through a process of deeper awareness, of knowing themselves, to be open to be led in the spiritual sense.  It is wonderful to hear some of the youth express a deep spirituality in ways different to that of priests and religious.

I came across a reading of St John Paul II on the 34th World Day of Prayer for Vocations which said:

place all your energies at the service of vocations

This has captured my attention, especially as one who is relatively new to the Australian culture.  I take this message with new insights.  As a Daughter of Divine Zeal I pray and work for more vocations.  It is my wish and prayer for all spiritual children of Saint Annibale, as we journey day by day, through the intercession of Mary – the Mother of vocations – that we can do better for our spiritual uplifting, that we can be a life-giving presence in the care, nurturing and generation of vocations, especially here in Australia.

Sr Felicitas fdz | Image courtesy of pixabay.com

A day of celebrations

St Joseph Feast Day Mass

This morning the Richmond FDZ community had a Eucharistic Celebration for the Feast of St Joseph.  The celebrant was Fr Toto, SJ.

19 March is also the day on which St Annibale Maria Di Francia founded the Daughters of Divine Zeal in 1887.

You can view our gallery of photos of the Mass on our Facebook page.

I glorify you

I glorify You, O Lord, for out of my littleness and nothingness I was chosen among the thousands and millions of women in the world to do Your will in the religious life.

Joy

Yes, many are called yet few are those who dare to respond to this invitation.  So my soul glorifies the Lord my Saviour because He has set His eyes on me.  His love is so great that I could not resist to follow Him. YES, I could say, I am madly in love with my God who has rescued me in moments of darkness.

Though the path is unknown, I still follow Him.  This life He has presented to me is uncertain.  I do not even know the Person who will be beside me yet I am still madly in love with Him!

Out of love and trust I proclaim my big “YES” to You, my God.  You are a God faithful to Your promises, to my human eyes You are invisible.  Yes, in faith, You are God present in all events of my life!

How wonderful then to proclaim Your greatness.  Even in recalling painful experiences, in those dark moments of my life, You have revealed unconditional love and so the more I cry out “Lord! You have done great things in my life!”

Here I am again, happy to proclaim Your goodness.  Ready to renew my vows.  This entails much awareness, openness, deep trust and self surrender that surely gives more life!

Your promise lasts forever, Your faithfulness remains forever.  Therefore, I should not be afraid to walk with You.  This is my strong and clear conviction.

For You have called me, give me the grace to persevere in journeying with YOU!  Allow me then to express with the same words of Mary “My soul proclaims the goodness of the Lord!”

Sr Imelda | Image courtesy of pixabay.com

My spiritual journey

I desire to live my “personal spiritual plan” each year of my spiritual journey.  I long and pray to give my whole being to my spouse Jesus in mind, body and soul.  In order to concretize this total surrendering, I have to espouse the vows intently: chastity, poverty, obedience, and zeal for the Rogate.

Girl on a journey

In chastity I have to discipline myself and gently accept the reality of my being as a bride of Jesus – accepting all individuals with love and respect.

In obedience I have to obey with the eyes of faith; avail myself unconditionally and to model Christ’s obedience up to the cross.

In poverty I have to live simply with love, with care for the things entrusted to me.  Likewise, I offer to God all my personal desires.

With zeal for the Rogate, I pray wholeheartedly and espouse Christ’s interests for the needy, continue offering my works, joys and sufferings for holy and more vocations in the Church.

I am convinced and inspired to put into reality this “spiritual plan” formed as a result of my encounter with Jesus.

Sr Tina fdz | Image courtesy of pixabay.com

The pull of discernment

The word discernment suggests a pulling apart, that one sees and feels with insight.  Many times we are told that God is always speaking to us and yet we do not listen.

In contemplation

Listening entails openness and a docility that is a pure gift.  During some recent discernment sessions, I felt so scattered, disconnected and stubborn in my ways, despite having gone through so much reflection and prayer.  Yet, in a surprising way, God shattered these and I found myself feeling lighter and more cohesive.  I was able to acknowledge and name my present situation.  I realised through the discernment experience that the father of lies to which St Ignatius referred could appear as an angel of light, presenting half-truths as the absolute truth.  Nevertheless we have nothing to fear at these times because God is always with us.  Prayer, meditation, reflection and even corporal penance are ways to hold on in those moments of spiritual struggle.

I believe that discernment is a process we have to undertake at every moment in our lives.  The more we listen to God, the more we are attuned to the right choices.  Eventually it leads us to an ever-renewed LOVE-RESPONSE to the Lord.  Making choices and decisions have to spring from the real choices of the heart!

Sr Rosemarie fdz

Image courtesy of pixabay.com

Christ’s compassion

rogate-feb2015
The Word of the Gospel:

Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and illness. Seeing the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest! (Mt 9.35 to 38)

The world is the field of God, but people who are dedicated to its service are very few.

We need Holy Apostles: priests, consecrated men and women, missionaries, laypersons so that the love of God may reach everyone.  But these workers of the Gospel does not arise in the case, nor are formed by our own forces. They are the work of God’s mercy and come to us through prayer, as Christ has commanded us in the Gospel – ROGATE – PRAY:

“The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.”

Source: Figlie Del Divino Zelo | Image based on photo courtesy of pixabay.com

To Mary

Mother Mary

On this womb of Formation
Cares the one that holds me
Whisper to me the beauty of life
The life that is waiting for me.

Teach me the song of eternity
Speak to me the language of humility
Let all the words of love
Fill my heart, my mind.

When the world tries to snatch me away from you,
Mother, embrace me; hold me more
When trials and difficulties attempt to consume me
Be my comfort, stay at my side.

When I come to the end of my journey
Share with me your joy
Let me see the face of your Son
Your beloved Son, my God!

Monaliza Antonio

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