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.