Daily Reflection
November 5th, 2004
Tom Shanahan, S.J.
University Relations and the Theology Dept.
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

All Saints and Blessed of the Society of Jesus:
National Jesuit Vocation Day

Philippians 3:17—4:1

Psalm 122:1-2, 3-4ab, 4cd-5
Luke 16:1-8

Today is the feast of all the Saints and Blesseds of the Society of Jesus.  This is a natural feast at this time of the year and in this month of November when we remember the official Saints that have been canonized in the church as well as the saintly persons among our families and friends who have touched our lives and left a lasting impression.

It is also National Vocation Day for the Jesuits in the United States, and, as such, is an invitation to reflect on the notion of vocation itself and what it might mean to consider a vocation to become a Brother or a Priest in the Society of Jesus (“the Jesuits”).  Each person has a vocation that fits with the plan of God for our lives.  A vocation to the Jesuits is no different from that; it is a call from God to spend our lives in service of others as a Jesuit.

Have you ever wondered what some of those words and phrases that you hear in the gospels mean?  When I hear “the harvest is great, but the laborers are few. . .” how do I respond?  Or when I am encouraged to consider, during a Sunday morning at Mass, the image of “scattering the seeds” for the rich harvest, what stirs in my heart?  These and similar images and the responses that they draw out of me are important in answering that call that may be mine of a vocation to the Society of Jesus.

How do I know for certain that I am called to be a Jesuit?  As with any vocation the certainty that I have is relative – vocation discernment is anything but a black and white affair.  There is a subtlety to my choosing.  I will most likely not be knocked to the ground as St. Paul was as he first met Jesus and was invited to become an apostle.  But I will be invited and encouraged and I will discover those invitations and encouragements in my inmost heart.  No easy and secure answer here, but if I am being called this way by God, my graced response to the call is so important for my future.

Vocation is a mysterious reality.  On this particular day let us pray that all of us can come to know where the Lord is leading us in the vocational choices that we make.  And, in a special way, let us pray today that young men can be ready and eager to hear the call to the Society of Jesus where that call is being sent out.

Let me end on a practical note: at the bottom of the “Collaborative Ministry” home page there is a section for those interested that is entitled, “Have You Thought About Being a Jesuit?”
  Check it out.

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