As a vocation director, I’m often asked, “how are vocations?” Usually I say, “abundant in some parts of the world, more scarce in others.” Then I add a remark about how God keeps inviting and generous people continue to respond. It’s not really a matter of how many, but of how much love one brings. Who can measure the “one lit candle” of a life consecrated to God and God’s people? Will not a small measure of yeast be able to leaven a whole batch of dough?
One thing is certain, those who come to religious life today are the ones who will shape it for this 21st century world. Today’s newer members bring who they are, with their own remarkable gifts, professional training, dreams, and hopes. Sr. Amy Hereford, CSJ, in her book, Religious Life at the Crossroads (Orbis Books, 2013), says, “God’s dream for religious life in the United States is a dream bigger than those who are living the life right now . . . . I believe this dream centers around several important elements: charism, community, connectivity, consciousness, and contemplation.”
It is these very things that I hear young discerners seeking. Vocations will be alive and well as long as we all keep listening to the Holy Spirit who speaks continuously in our hearts.