God calls and we are not deaf!

Published Categorised as President's Pen

Some Thoughts for Holy Week.

There was an interesting (albeit sad) piece in one of yesterday’s newspapers entitled, “The Seminary has no recruits for the first time in over four decades”. I will not add a link to it lest anyone gets lost in the labyrinth thread of comments provided by today’s pseudo-sitting room or kitchen journalists (i.e. amusing comments by readers, if not also betraying a tragic sense of all that doesn’t really add value to an intelligent piece).

The Rector’s perspective makes a lot of sense though.

There is one short reader’s comment that also ctually makes some sense. “If a vocation is God’s Calling what is doing wrong? Is God not calling or are people deaf?” I think that between these two polar (or theoretical) absolutes there could also be a more plausible practical reason. Answers are generally not in black or white, but somewhere in the infinite shades of grey in between.

Could it be that God continues to call and that people are not deaf?  Could it be that “pollution” in between is severing the connection?

Why is it, when hiking in mountains and countryside the night sky is lit with stars and – in daytime – replete with song birds? Are they not otherwise there when we are elsewhere? Or are we less able to hear and appreciate them because of light and noise pollution? What “spiritual” pollution is less tangible in Africa and Asia that allows more people to continue hearing God’s Call? What “spiritual” pollution is less tangible in the more traditional Catholic families even in Europe where – even there – vocations continue to grow? What have we – the rest of the Catholic society – introduced that is muting God’s Call? Is it, perhaps, because their “spiritual” commitment requires more perseverence whereas we are becoming too complacent and distracted by elements of our enviroment?

Sayings like, “the family that prays together stays together,” and Mons Depiro’s, “il-family hija l-benniena ta’ l-edukazzjoni (the family is the cradle of all education),” come to mind.  The thought behind these must run deeper than arbitrary, saveur du jour, arguments of priestly celibacy.

If, in business and commerce we know that the ultimate ingredients of success are perseverance and  perspiration, why do we conveniently forget these in matters of faith? Galatians 6:7, “… for whatever one sows, that will also be reaped,” Matthew 13:23, “the seed sown on good soil ..” and Psalm 126, 5, “Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy!”

As parents, are we, firstly, convinced of the faith that we’re passing on? Do we too often err on the side of molly-coddling our children. Proverbs 13:24“Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them,” does not advocate corporal punishment. But, it does advocate discipline which, at times, comes with measure of discomfort. The “narrow door”(Luke 13:22) talks specifically of that.

As Christians are we waymarks or speed-bumps for those who journey the road after us?

God doesn’t do flood-lights. He can. But he doesn’t. God’s word is, “A lamp to our feet and a light to our path.”(Psalm 119:105), Nothing more. So, it’s easy to miss it if we do not actively seek it, or gently direct those who follow us towards it.

Let us, as we prepare for Easter, teach ourselves (and those who follow us) to seek out God, “in the gentle breeze.” (1 Kings 19). The rest is probably just fuzz and pollution.