Saturday, April 24, 2010

Good Shepherd Sunday

It's the World Day of Prayer for Vocations, which usually means prayer for "more" vocations (or more correspondence, might be more like it). But my prayer this year is tending toward the people we in religious life refer to with the most unfortunate title, "formator." This would mean anyone in a role like seminary spiritual teacher, director or rector, or (in religious communities) postulant or novice director, and guides for members in temporary vows, and for those preparing for final vows.
What a delicate role they have! They are entrusted with introducing new members to a community, guiding them in the spirituality of the congregation, in the way of living consecrated life, the mission, and helping them, through it all, to fully discern God's call, so that people who do not actually have a vocation to consecrated life (or to that particular charism) are not allowed to go ahead year after year, struggling to conform to something that just doesn't "match." And how much people (and congregations, and the Church) suffer when the formators themselves are unwise or unbalanced--something that has certainly happened more than once or twice in the history of the Church!
So on this Good Shepherd Sunday, my prayers go, yes, for "more" vocations: more in number, more fervent, more surrendered to God, but also for those who are expected, and counted on, to be their principal points of reference along the way of giving themselves to God and the People of God.

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