This week is Vocations Awareness Week. I’ve written on the topic of vocations, before. There are two things that I find interesting about the topic of “vocations”. Typically, when we talk about “vocations” we talk about vocations to the priesthood and to religious life. While these are obviously important to the life of the Church, they are specific vocations, which only come after our general vocation: holiness. The other thing that I find interesting about the topic of “vocations” is that we tend to try to encourage young men to consider a vocation to the priesthood in a manner that resembles prohibition era mob tactics. No one wants to be forced to do anything and neither the Church, nor the Lord, wants anyone to enter a vocation to the priesthood or religious life in a manner that isn’t freely chosen. Coerced vocations are kind of antithetical to the whole idea, in the first place.
If we really want to increase the number of vocations we have to the priesthood and the religious life, we should really start with the primary vocation to which we are all called: holiness. If we focus first on growing in holiness, ourselves, and then in our children, they will naturally hear the voice of G_d calling them to their specific vocation. Designed by G_d to fulfill that vocation and drawn to him, they will naturally follow the Lord, after first seeking holiness.
If we really want to promote vocations, promote holiness through daily prayer, the Eucharist, and spiritual growth and development.