I just returned from a regional gathering of vocation directors. We were about 30 sisters, priests, and brothers from different religious congregations. The joy and enthusiasm for religious life overflowed from our meeting room into the larger motherhouse where we met. It expressed itself in laughter, applause, music and song. It also found expression in the depth of conversation and sharing.
A highlight for me was our conversation with a panel of young adults of the Millennial generation, ages 18-34. As we shared with one another, I was suddenly struck by the obvious: religious life is absurd without the Gospel. If not for the Good News of Jesus Christ, there would be no purpose to living a vowed life of prayer and service. For people of any age who haven’t had some kind of personal encounter with Jesus, religious life is absurd. The call to foster a culture of encounter, of which Pope Francis often speaks, is a real hunger in our world today.
The young adults on the panel gave us very thoughtful suggestions of how religious women and men might connect and build relationships with others of their generation. Here’s a grateful shout-out to Bryan, Theresa, CeCy, Justin and Lori!