We just celebrated Vocation Sunday. As usual we offered special prayers for more vocations. We prayed for God to enlighten the minds of young men and women to inspire them to take up priestly vocations. The decline in vocations has resulted in an acute shortage of priests all over and this is causing a great deal of anxiety.
Christian education traditionally instilled the right values at an early age. The decline in this education over the years is a major cause of the loss this passion for vocations. The Church is losing out on this very important obligation in continuing proper Christian education for the young.
Decades back we witnessed the love of Christ alive in our community in the various Christian institutions. We had the mission schools, hospitals, and orphanages, homes for the aged, schools for the disabled and halfway homes for the wayward. We were taught serving men was the way Christianity has to be practiced. In fact this unique feature of service to man was what differentiated the Christian faith from others.
Today we cannot proudly claim to have these institutions of Christ’s love anymore. Many of these institutions like hospitals have become business enterprises where only those who can afford seek treatment. They are functioning against the true spirit with which they were set up – to serve the poor.
Moreover the emphasis has shifted to more self-centered activities of prayer, meditation and rituals aimed at imploring God’s help for our own benefits.We organize prayer sessions and all forms of formations and retreats to entice young men and women into the priesthood and religious life, but these alone are not enough. What we really need is exemplary role model, in parents, teachers and clergy.Regretably this is sadly missing these days.
We have underestimated the role of push factors by parents and the pull factors by the clergy in the stimulation of our children to take up religious vocations.
Life has become materialistic and the quest for wealth a necessity. In the intense competition for material gains we seem to ignore the all important duty of instilling good values in our children by our own example. All we do is instill the attitude to compete to do better than others and in this race moral values have little relevance.
Over the years our priests have alienated themselves from the masses so much so that they have become indifferent and insensitive to the needs and plight of the people. Instead of being the servants they have become the masters of their parishioners.
There is a need for our priests and religious to reach out to the masses. Unless they bring back the love of Christ alive into the community, they will not be able to attract the young men and women into their flock. The passion for vocations must be instilled in our children from a very early age not by preaching but by our own examples.