Have you or someone you have known had a question about being a monk or priest? Have you known someone that you think would be good for a religious life? Do you think he would do great things for others as he dedicates himself to God?
To have a vocation is nothing else but to have a call. That is the meaning of the word vocation. However, the way you answer that is all up to you. God has only called a few people in history with a well-defined vocation, David in the OId Testament was called to follow God and be the leader the of his people, Israel John the baptizer was called to be the one who announced Jesus as the Lamb of God and baptize Him.
But for us, the answer to follow Christ is up to us. What we need to do is find out what will make us happy in life. A clear example for you is the following: If you want to work with the poor, then the Franciscan life may be fitting for you. If you want to teach in a university, the Jesuits will be the people to visit. Do you want to be a preacher and move from place to place? Maybe a life as a Dominican is your calling. However, if you are in search of God, Saint Benedict says, then come and see. This search for God is what the monks do.
This is a contemplative life, studying the History of Salvation, studying via the Holy Scriptures and the interaction of God with His people. We call it Lectio Divina, and by meditating, praying and contemplating God in the middle of our lives, we come to see the wonders of God’s creation.
Doing this kind of praying and meditating, John Paul II invites us to see how, as he meditates on the writings of the prophet Isaiah. One sees the wonderful image of God as our Father.
Pope John Paul II introducing the Our Father uses the words of the Prophet Isaiah in order to express not only the teachings of Christ but his own view of God, so, he says:
“You are my son. Today I have created you. I will be your Father and you will be my Son. ”
Says the prophet Isaiah: “Lord, you are our Father, you are the one who has given us form and calls us to be. We are the work of your hands”. “Sion said: The Lord has abandoned me. He will say: if there is a woman who may forget or abandon her child I will say to you: I will never abandon you”.
It is highly significant that for the great prophet Isaiah, the paternity of God is inspired and enriched in the maternity of God. Says Pope John Paul, and continues:
“Jesus announces over and over again the paternity of God in his relation with men. A constant theme int the Old Testament. However, for Jesus, God is not only the Father of Israel or the Father of humanity, but His Father, my Father, our Father: (at this point The Pope breaks into singing the Our Father.)
Pater noster qui est in caelis … My own translation of the introduction to the Our Father by John Paul II.
These words of John Paul II are still fresh in my ears. The very first time I heard him saying what I have quoted above, tears came to my eyes, because he was talking to me, not to the masses, but in a particular way, as he says: “For Christ, God is not a father that is far a way from us, but very close to me, a reality that is so palpable that we can call him Our Father.” And as my Father I can be close to him, or I can ignore him. The pope invites us to reflect in that reality, it is up to us to have a relation with God or ignore it.
How true it is that God wants an intimate relationship with me. I want to translate it into an invitation to walk with Him in a particular way, in a way that is intimate, in a way that goes against all that this society and culture is telling me.
This is my reflection: Maybe we, today’s monks, priests and sisters are called rebels, crazy or are accused of being stuck in the past because we do not adjust to this society. Even our way of dress seemingly stands against the materialistic society in which we live. This reality emphasizes the fact that our monastic call is one of search for God and it is rarely in step in tune with the world.
Always going back to the roots of Christianity, searching to make a reality the evangelical councils, it is in this way that I am inviting you in a personal way to come and see how we live out our monastic call. Come and see how we try to make a reality this relationship with God and us; a relationship that could be yours and God here among us.
In a modern society there is a group of man who dedicates their lives to the monastic life through the Rule of St. Benedict after more than 1500 years. This video shows a small part of their daily lives and how they dedicate their time praying as the offical prayers of the Catholic church, praying for the entire world. Yes, that includes you and me.