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3 ways to enter into National Vocations Awareness Week


As National Vocations Awareness Week begins, many people are in lockdown, or if they are fortunate enough not to be, then the experience is not unfamiliar. For me, lockdown 5.0 ended a few days ago., but there are still many limitations in place. I’ve been pondering how lockdown is an experience of the things around us being open or closed, and the reality that can change quite quickly, seemingly with almost no warning.

Yet while many things are closed off to us as varying levels of limitation are in place, it perhaps gives us a unique opportunity to be open to God. Sounds like a paradox, doesn’t it? Yet the limitations of lockdown can be a unique gift for us in creating space to open to God in fresh and new ways. So whether or not you are in lockdown, I invite you to take these three ideas into National Vocations Awareness Week, praying for the grace to be radically open to God and his call on your life.

  • Do something you have never done before

That may initially sound a little risqué, and on one level, I don’t mean it as an invitation to do absolutely anything. But, on another level, I do. The catch is that this invitation is to do something you have never done before in terms of discerning your vocation, it might be something you have been meaning to do for a long time, or it might be a fresh inspiration God gives you as you pray.

Perhaps it is to share the desires of your heart for a particular vocation with someone – knowing that verbalizing it can be a courageous step of faith that enables you to acknowledge what is setting you on fire, perhaps it is to contact a group of sisters and share with them that you are discerning consecrated life, perhaps it is to finally organise a spiritual director for yourself, perhaps it is to firmly resolve to have a daily prayer time and work out how it fits into your life or to start praying the Examen every day.

  • Strengthen something you already do

There are many ways that we connect with God, and the second invitation is to strengthen something you already do. This could be about doing it more, like extending the amount of time you pray, or going to Mass (even online) an extra time through the week. But it is not necessarily about doing more, it may be about strengthening what you are doing by doing it a little differently, eg, leaving your phone in another room while you pray so you don’t get distracted or changing the time you pray so that you are more awake or alert.

  • Resolve to break an unhelpful pattern in your life

We all have them, and they are different for each one of us – patterns of sin, weaknesses and frailties that are little bumps or huge boulders in our relationship with God. Let’s take this week to pray for the grace to do our part in breaking the stronghold these things can have on our lives. Of course, this is only possible in the power of the Holy Spirit, but let’s have the courage in this week in a particular way to be open to these changes in our lives.

So even though we live in a world of unpredictability, and we may be unsure whether churches, restaurants, schools, shops and more will be open or closed tomorrow, let’s remain open to God. Let’s use this National Vocations Awareness Week to seek God’s way in our lives. Let’s ask him what it is that he desires for us in doing something we have never done before, strengthening something we already do, and resolving to break an unhelpful habit in our lives.

 Mel Edwards