Be open to his voice resounding in the depths of your heart: even now his heart is speaking to your heart”
-Pope Benedict XVI, Sep 18, 2010, Beatification of Cardinal Newman
The Family: Seedbed of Vocations
Making your home a place of God’s will
- Speak of Christ to your children with love. Speak of him often; make him part of your daily lives.
- Encourage and help them to grow in their relationship with God. Teach them how to pray. Teach them how to talk to God openly and to meditate, especially on the life of Christ. Spend quiet prayer time with the Lord, and witness your own life of prayer and relationship with God to them. As they get older, encourage them to seek spiritual direction. Pursue spiritual direction for yourself.
- Help them to learn more about their faith, as you continue to learn more about your faith as well. Talk about the faith regularly. Help them find answers to questions about the faith. Use the celebrations of the liturgical year as opportunities to learn more.
- Read the lives of the saints. They are always an inspiration to follow the call.
- Make sacramental living your daily life. Attend Mass frequently. Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation frequently.
- Spend time in Eucharistic adoration, and encourage your children to spend time with the Lord there. Many vocations are born out of adoration before him in the Holy Eucharist.
- Pray for your children and for the fulfillment of the vocation to which God is calling them, and teach them to do this for themselves. Parents want their children to find happiness – this comes in the discovery and embrace of God’s will for his or her life. Ask God to help them. Whatever their vocation is, there will be temptations, fear, doubts, selfishness and struggles to overcome.
- Every morning, place each of your children and their vocation under the protection of Jesus through Mary. Be courageous and ask for the blessing that they be called to priesthood or consecrated life.
- Teach them an openness to God’s will by your own actions in daily life. Imitate Mary in your parenthood and ask for her assistance. Most likely, your children will live as you live, and your priorities will be their priorities.
- Do not force a vocation on your children, but do not be silent either. Talk about vocation with a sense of freedom, joy, and love. Answer their questions, and ask a few of your own.
- Participate in works of mercy and service in your church and community. Teach them to lay down their lives as Christ did. Help them to see how much they are needed by others, and how much they have to give.
- Witness your own vocation lived out in a healthy, beautiful, and loving way. Vocations most often come from families where the faith is practiced and handed on, and where the beauty and dignity of married life is witnessed through fidelity, sacrifice and true love.
- Speak positively and joyfully about bishops, priests, and consecrated persons. Invite priests or consecrated persons to your home for dinner. Ask them to share their vocation stories. Your respect and their witness will inspire your children to think positively about these vocations and give them the freedom to consider it. Speak about the need for priests and consecrated persons. Pray for vocations together as a family.
- Provide for a well-rounded formation of your children – do not neglect the formation of his or her character, self-discipline, virtues, commitment, and physical health. Help them to see their own gifts and talents that God has given them. This will prepare them to recognize the voice of God when he calls, and help them to respond to this call. Their strength of character will help them to live healthy relationships, to overcome peer pressure, and to courageously do what is right despite difficulties and obstacles.
- Teach them to love what is good, true, and beautiful. Help them to think critically, to know objective truth, and to appreciate music and the arts.
- Pay attention to your children’s use of the media. It is important to be vigilant about their use of the internet and the movies and television they watch. Give them reasons for limitations, teaching them to use the media responsibly and to take great care about the things they visually put into their bodies.
- Trust in God. Remember that he calls you to be holy, but we make mistakes along the way. This is his work. Abandon yourself and your children to him.
- LaboureFoundation.org (financial aid to help pay off debt)
Books & Film:
- The Adventures of Sister Regina Marie, by Zelie Redmond (children’s series for girls)
- The Missions of Fr. James and Fr. Joseph, by Zelie Redmond (children’s series for boys ages 9-12)
- Coming: Zelie Redmond children’s series for boys ages 5-8 – all Redmond books found at Thejoyofmyyouth.com
- Amata Means Beloved, fiction, by Sr. Mary Catharine Perry, OP (NunsOPSummit.org)
- My Path to Heaven, by Geoffrey Bliss, S.J. (Sophia Institute Press)
- Louis de Wohl novels of the saints (Ignatius Press)
- Priest: Portraits of Ten Good Men Serving the Church Today, by Michael Rose – 10 real-life priests’ stories (SophiaInstitute.com)
- Completely Christ’s: The Radical Call of the Consecrated Life, video (available from ConsecratedLife.com)
- Fishers of Men, video (available from USCCB.org or GrassrootsFilms.com)