RELIGIOUS LIFE AND HUMAN GROWTH

POSTULANCY
The main formative goals of the Society of the Divine Word are that a beginner gradually experiences its lived charism, integrates the SVD identity into his personality and spells that out through his life and work. The foundation of the SVD identity is rooted in the religious and missionary charism permeated by the Divine Word. So the goal of formation is the gradual and often painful transformation into an increasingly ‘God-centered’ existence. Postulancy is a time of preparation for the Novitiate. In India the postulancy would begin at least six months prior to the candidate’s entering the Novitiate. The goal of postulancy is to help the candidates to understand better the nature of the Christian religious, missionary, priestly vocation and grow to a higher level of human Christian maturity. It also aims at a greater self-knowledge, self-acceptance, and acceptance of others. This would enable the candidates to make a free and responsible choice with regard to their vocation.

1. SVD Spirituality and the way of life
 SVD Charism  General awareness of the vision of the Society, its global missionary activities and plans and the role of the Indian confreres

2. Vocation
 Call and commitment to religious life and vows  Relevance of missionary, religious, priestly life in the context of the changing realities and challenges of the college life and the values of the modern world.  Other valid ways of living the Christian vocation

3. Community
 Interpersonal living: its joys and struggles  Friendship and intimacy  Expectations of the laity from priests and religious

4. Personal Growth
 Philosophy of one’s life

HUMAN GROWTH
Look at the growth process of human beings. From a tiny seed, life emerges, grows into a child, adult, old person and death. This life process has ups and downs, this process has its own pain and separation and success and failure. As a child you are dependent on others but as one grows up one becomes independent and experiences personal success. The years between 25-50 can be considered as peak years and then gradual dying out takes place. This process we can compare to waves in the ocean. Basically we are in an organization with a specific purpose. Every organization also undergoes similar growth process. Birth ------ Growth ------- Point of minimal survival (This is the point of revitalization – new interpretation of charism, point of death or point of transition). This what

happens to every congregation. This is the case of religious life as well. The old monastic life died, few survived because of new vision. They were ready to change. We need to remember that when society changes old things do not remain. We need to change, change with the times reading the signs of the time. In this structure where our Society is situated? Just like the process of growth we cannot be always on the peak (Mount Tabor). Everything that we do has this curve. This is our life. Birth ----- Growth ------ Death ------ Resurrection. Every organization begins because of certain Myth. Who we are? Get in touch with the original charism of the time. Get in touch with the Inspiration – Gospels. Get in touch with the changing signs of the times and know exactly who you are. Belief – We translate our above values into beliefs. What are our beliefs? What is our identity? Norm – How things are done based on our belief and identity. This will help us to know our vocation. What is our vocation? It is to live a meaningful life. I have meaningful life when I am happy. Happiness is freely chosen and not forced. Choice within me brings me happiness. Vocation begins not from external things but from within me. Often we have dramatized saying – God called us. Vocation is something from inside or within. What puts me into this inner feeling is what we call prayer experience. We choose to be priests not because our parents said so but we opt for it freely. A decision that makes me happy. Time of transition is a risky period, place to be in – for transition means danger and an opportunity.

Charism and Spirituality of Our Society
Exercise What SVD Fathers and Brothers are? Identity card of the SVD Society? SVDs are....  Prophets – Dangers – Justice and Peace  Frontier Missionaries  Internationality (Community life)  Forward looking – Adaptive and Progressive, Creative  Catalysts – Happy and contented, Sociable and loving, generous, hard working.  Men of Prayer  Champions of the poor  Hospitable and Kind

Charism  Individual Charism  Religious Charism  Institute Charism Besides the individual charisms we also have the charisms of the institute. Vows are generally the charisms of all religious institutes. Apart from this every religious institute has got the charism of the founder. These particular cluster of charisms are unique way of walking in the spirit of loving consecration and service. Not, then, that each religious congregation has a completely different

charism, each has a unique form of the our common fundamental and supreme charism of following Jesus in the religious life. A charism can be appreciated, grasped, made somehow perceptible only as we see it expressed in people who have that charism. Charisma is a particular grace given to some but not to all for the benefit of others and as a special way of relating to the Lord. Not only does a religious vocation fit the definition, but so do the classic three religious vows – consecrated chastity, Apostolic poverty and religious obedience. Charisms are gifts of God. Holy Spirit is the source of variety of vocations in the church. Religious life is born from an all embracing religious commitment – commitment to live exclusively for the Lord. So celibacy community life, solitude are the consequences of our commitment. Various gifts are given to fulfill the needs of the church. Religious life serves the church by its very existence. They cause religious life to become a visible sign of the presence of the kingdom and of a meaningful expression of the universal call to follow Christ. The word charism had been used from ancient time to mean one of the characteristics of religious life – celibacy. The earlier monks did not explicitly speak of celibacy. Their life of solitude was a form of radical celibacy. Here they not only withdraw from family but also from all social relationships. Poverty was very prominent among early fathers. They led a simple and poor lives. There was no question of obedience as most of them were anchorites. They obeyed the scriptures and their conscience. Practice of obedience came up in cenobatic life. As obedience was a distinctive trait of cenobates it was not for all. So, the charisms which created religious life are mainly two – poverty and celibacy (dyard). Dyard was more traditional and biblical than triad (celibacy, poverty and obedience). There are very many congregations in the Church. Each congregation is the result of the movement of the Spirit, who leads and inspires certain people to take care of a particular need of the Church. As a congregation is founded this particular need is stressed. Thus we have charism. Our founder Arnold Janssen was mainly inspired by the fact of spreading the word of God on earth, specially through evangelical activity among non-Catholics, who are most in need, that is the pagans, especially those in the far east. So the main thread that runs through from the beginning up to today is the priority of the “Missions” [The charism of our Society is further characterized as follows: - We accomplish our missionary service in a fraternal community of laymen and clerics; - We give witness to the universality of the church and the unity of all people through the international character of our Society. - We have the openness of our founder, Arnold Janssen, always to discern anew the will of God, and be available, flexible and ready to venture into new situations.] Mission Work As our founder had a vision of spreading the word of God on earth from the very beginning he stressed the need of mission work. For this very purpose he established a missionary seminary and later a separate congregation. The priority of the missions is expressed in all the constitutions of the Society, starting with the 1876 rule. From this and from the rapid growth of the society’s mission fields it is vivid that mission work is one of the definite charism of Arnold Janssen. 101 Since God wills that all be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (see 1 Tim 2:4-5), he sent his Son as redeemer to form the one people of God from all nations through the power of the Spirit. Our missionary service helps gather the scattered children of the Lord (see Jn 11:52) and hasten the hour when all will worship the Father in spirit and truth (see Jn. 4:23). In this way we

promote true human progress, go to meet the Lord as he comes and prepare for his glorious second coming and the final fulfillment of all creation in Christ. 102 As members of the Society of the Divine Word, we consider it our duty to proclaim the word of God to all, to bring new communities into being within the people of God, to foster their growth and to promote communion among them as well as with the whole church. We work first and foremost where the gospel has not been preached at all or only insufficiently and where the local church is not visible on its own. Other tasks must be oriented towards these primary aims. Whoever joins our Society must be ready to go wherever the superior sends him in order to fulfill our missionary mandate even if this entails leaving his own country, mother tongue and cultural milieu. Such readiness is an essential characteristic of our missionary vocation. Confreres always have the right to volunteer for missionary service in another country or culture. 102.1 In the choice of our missionary activity priority will be given to those situations where the need is perceived to be particularly acute, where others are not available for the task of evangelization and where people show greater openness to the word of God. 102.2 Wherever we work, we always keep in mind that we are missionaries: we seek to keep alive the universal church’s awareness of its missionary responsibility, promote and prepare vocations for missionary service and support the missionary cause of the church both spiritually and materially. 103 The Divine Word became incarnate in a particular historical situation. Jesus announced peace and salvation to all those of good will, showing special predilection for the poor. This example of Jesus determines the way in which we participate in his mission. Therefore we try to insert ourselves into the actual situation of those among whom we work. With open mind and deep respect for the religious traditions of peoples, we seek dialogue with all and present the good news of God’s love to them. We show a special preference for the poor and oppressed. Since missionary activity is by its very nature the work and revelation of the Holy Spirit we place ourselves and our Society entirely under his guidance and direction. So Arnold Janssen’s first response to the Holy Spirit after founding the Society was to send missionaries to China. He gave full expressions to this charism through two other communities he founded besides the Society of the Divine Word. The Society as a whole, as well each individual confrere is to extend every effort in fulfilling this mandate and promoting the cause of the missions. All confreres must be prepared to engage in the direct and immediate missionary activity of our Society, and be willing to sacrifice their own for this purpose. Readiness for such an assignment is an essential characteristics of our missionary vocation. Our readiness to sacrifice the country, mother tongue and culture and missionary zeal of the founder has enabled the Society to reach far and wide in the world and work as an effective instrument of God to reach His people. Our founder had sent his missionaries to China, Argentina, Brazil, Togo, Eucador, New Guinea, United States, Paraguay, Japan and the Philippines. Now too we have carried on this charism of our founder under the leadership of various Superior Generals. We are at present working over 62 countries of the world. Fr. Arnold prayerfully considered every request for help, wherever in the world the appeal originated. Heathen missions were always the priority but pastoral needs such as in Argentina and Philippines were likewise filled as long as there was need. Mission There are 82000 religious in India. Sisters are 67000. Institutionalization is killing religious life.

We are caught up in a quest for efficiency, competitiveness and energy into maintenance. This gives rise to careerism, religious thrust is forgotten. Creativity dies and our energy is utilized to meet the demands of the society and we adopt to their values. Spirituality becomes very shallow. Prayers do not affect our life. They become mere show and no putting them into practice in day to day living. We experience a crisis in Mission. We have lost our bearings. Two poles of mission work are – Social involvement (Radical religious pluralism – unity – building up humanity) and Evangelization (we accept religious pluralism but still we claim to have fullness of truth – leading to conversion) Return to the ESSENTIAL – JESUS. The greatest temptation for Jesus was to go by the values of his day or conditioned by the thought patterns of the day. He fought against this and that’s why he is a universal man. Thoughts of the day were - Self justification, Temple practices, Religious thinking, Oppression, Structures. Jesus did only three things – 1. He shared with people. He never came with a book, dogma. We have institutionalized Jesus. He shared with the people his experience of God. God who is Abba. 2. Jesus gathered around him a community – Gospel community. 3. Once he had built up this community he gave this people a particular life style – spirituality – just to live each day without fear hoping that God never abandons his own. Having done so Jesus sends us out to do the same. ] Internationality The most striking characteristic of our Society is internationality. Our Society contrary to most catholic mission sending societies of the days, never limited itself to one nation or group. From the very beginning there were Germans, Dutch, Austrians, Poles, Slovaks, Hungarians etc. in Fr. Arnold’s Society. He was a man of vision. He recruited people from various countries to fulfill the demands of the Church by sending the missionaries who were willing to live and work in other parts of the world, to witness our oneness in love with everyone, no matter what his nationality and origin. This fact was reaffirmed by the 10th General Chapter. “We view this as a special charism of our Society to give concrete witness to the universality of God’s love for all men. Because a truly lived internationality can be a visible sign of the kingdom, genuine expression of the possibility of people coming together as brothers. The international character of the Society was one very dear to our founder. The work, begun by our founder continues in the Society even today. His spiritual family members more than 10,000 sons and daughters. The driving force behind all Janssen’s enterprises was his exemplary interior life – faith in the will of God. The charism of the Society of the Divine word is to give witness as an apostle or apostolic community to the redemption and brotherhood of all men – to put it in two words it is – incarnationality and internationality.

RELIGIOUS CHARISMS (VOWS) 201 The Incarnate Divine Word in his redeeming love is the source and model of our apostolic holiness. By taking simple public vows of consecrated chastity, evangelical poverty and apostolic obedience, we respond to his call and follow him along the way of the evangelical counsels. Though these vows our commitment to the Lord, to the members of our Society and the church becomes stronger. They provide us with greater stability and freedom for our missionary tasks. By this new consecration the holiness received in baptism is fostered in a special way through a life of missionary service.

Explain the three religious vows? How can I justify the three vows in the context of the values needs and demands of the present day world? How do I find personal value for the vows and how can I live the vows meaningfully? A vow is a free and deliberate promise made to God to perform a possible and higher good, that is to perform an act more perfect than its opposite. Religious are being called to identify themselves more closely with the life of the church. Our life is inserted into the life of the church in a particular way, it stands in the church in a certain shape. This shape is put together by the vows of celibacy poverty and obedience. The religious vows are part of the fundamental experience of being a Christian. To express that idea within the one set of terms, religious vows are rooted in the primal vow of baptism. In baptism a Christian is consecrated once and for all to love according to the gift of the spirit, in the pattern of Jesus Christ, in the group which is church. Vows take their meaning from baptism. All that any vow does is to pick up some aspect of the baptismal vow, to underline it, to emphasize it and to build a way of life around it, for the sake of the body of the church. Each vow is also a tool that is meant to shape a person into the form of the Gospel. There are persons who regard the religious vows as insupportable burdens and who consider the religious state as a life of slavery. The only life of slavery for the human soul is the life of sin. The religious vows are no more a burden to the soul than are the wings of the bird. The triple vow enables the soul to lift itself above the sordid things of earth and fly towards God, in the praise and love of whom it finds perfect peace and delight. The essential gift in the religious calling is celibacy. Celibacy lived in community, forms the heart and care of religious life. Celibacy lived in community as it actually faces life in the world of material thing in poverty. Again, celibacy lived in community as it addresses itself to the actual service of the church and of people opens into obedience.

Celibacy
Chastity “Chastity is the progressive integration of sexual drive into the dynamism of love.” – G. Lobo. Center of chastity is ablative love. Masturbation Friendships (Hetero/Homo) Formalism (Vicarious Pleasure) Since we choose this way of life we can not violate them. If we violate them then we are not free in our choice. If we are not able to take up this way of life we need to wait and discern and reach a stage when we can freely opt and stay in this life. Sexuality is more than just a drive or impulse. It pervades whole of my personality. It can express itself in anger (aggression), fear, self-esteem, sadness, use of time, interpersonal relationship and communication. When this happens there is lack of integration in the person. Masturbation is not mere self-abuse but behind this act there is something wrong in the system. Masturbation is only symbolic act. Therefore it is difficult to judge the morality or gravity of the action. Masturbation is a disorder or lack of integration. It starts with experiment with developing sex organs. It can become habitual. It is disorder when it becomes a habit. From here it can become compulsion. In case of compulsion moral judgment is suspended. It needs discipline – try to reduce its frequency. Help them to build up satisfaction in life. If masturbation turns on himself and cuts off himself from rest of relationships it is questionable. Heterosexual Relationships Celibate Friendships have to be encouraged. Infatuation is a danger in this line. Guidelines – As far as possible have the relationship open to the community. Must not be unduly obsessive

Help the wider community to accept Keep in touch with solitude and prayer Never presume the strength of your partner Healthy distrust in this relationship is very necessary. Is physical touch permissible? It should be – Appropriate to the degree of the relationship It must be helpful to grow It must not be unduly preoccupying or disturbing It must not be unduly provoking sexually It must be acceptable to the religious and wider community Celibate friendship is a discovery of my strength and of the other. Celibacy was explained in terms of a decision made for the love of God and for the service of the church. The object of decision was a renunciation. Religious renounced the pleasure and joys of married life for the sake of the kingdom of God in themselves and in others. This set a person free to serve God and lies neighbour with great zeal. Pope Paul also insists that religious celibacy is to be seen as a gift of God ‘decisively positive’, making an uncompromising demand for love. What should shine forth through a life of religious celibacy is not our self-control, or our detachment from the ways of the world, but our power to love. To live a life of religious celibacy is to be a person evidently possessed by love. Religious are called through celibacy to show that the love of God can possess a heart deeply and humanly. He also says it is inadequate to think of celibacy as a renunciation which is, to say ‘no’ to something. It is a more positive and more responsive to the beauty of human love. We need to see religious celibacy as a gift, as something which by its own power positively builds up the individual and builds up human relationships. God calls religious to love, but in such a way that is our relationship with himself is our focal relationship. It is the one that lies at the heart of our life. It is through that relationship with God that we see and move towards all other relationships. In this focal relationship God offers himself to be the basic companion of life, to be the one around whom a religious builds his life and work. Because of our particular bond with the Lord, a like deep personal relationship with any other person is not possible. Hence religious celibacy is seen first of all a call to live with God. It is only secondarily a call to a celibate life. Religious celibacy is a gift of God that is rooted in the basic gift of being a Christian but with consequences that touch our sexuality. Celibacy is a new experience of god. It is a new experience of the baptismal idea that love is the gift. The gift is a new strength which helps us to by-pass certain ways of expressing love. Celibacy bears witness to the resurrection. In this light, the strength of the spirit enters a human being in such a way that the fullness of the resurrection is somehow anticipated. Through virginity a special bond is established between God and man. They become companions. The grace of virginity is a spiritual grace, yet it vivifies the body and gives a new balance to it. Therefore it is the anticipation of the grace of resurrection, the manifestation of otherwise hidden glory of the children of God. A human person who entered a new, glorious and spiritual world through virginity will not want to be the slave of material and temporal thing. He will vow freedom by professing poverty. Also he will recognize the living Christ in the church, and as a rule, he will ask for a deeper association with the visible church by dedicating himself to works of charity in a religious community. In this way he will share the glory of the Risen Christ and he will do the saving work of the mortal Christ. Religious celibacy is a task accepted along with the gift. The primary task of religious celibacy is to accept the gift of God and allow it to take root and grow and to allow our relationship with God to become really personal and focal. It is a task of our everyday life. We also accept the task of believing in the personal love of God and try to grow in it. Gift of celibacy aims at making us simple, loving, broad minded, committed and prayerful persons. Through celibacy we accept the task of loving God and man by developing healthy relationships.

1. Consecrated Chastity 202 In a celibate state of life Jesus directed his undivided love to the Father and all people. He calls some persons to celibacy in order to bind them more closely to himself and have them participate in a special way in the work of salvation. Christ’s invitation to celibacy for the sake of the kingdom is his precious gift to us. In response to it we vow chastity in the celibate state. 203 Consecrated celibacy, like Christian marriage, is a way of loving and must be nourished by love. Total commitment to God and selfless dedication to others in celibacy unite us to the suffering and glorified Christ and become a source of spiritual fruitfulness. In a world where human relationships are often characterized, on the one hand, by loneliness and, on the other, by manipulation and exploitation, celibacy lived in community anticipates and proclaims the authentic unity of all people in the kingdom. Considered in this way, celibacy is a possible and satisfying state of life that does not hinder human fulfillment but rather can lead to true maturity. 204 We live the celibate life in community. This means that we strive to form a true brotherhood where every confrere can feel at home, form deep friendships and find fulfillment in his work and in the development of his talents. Such a community makes us more mature and natural in our dealings with people. 205 Our life is consecrated chastity is more God’s gift to us than our gift to him. Since this calling affects some of the deepest inclinations of human nature, fidelity in it is possible only by trusting in the grace of God who never forsakes those he has chosen. Celibate love matures only with time, and only through lifelong cultivation does it attain full flowering. Those who find the struggle difficult should seek help from an experienced and reliable person and persevere in prayer, trusting humbly in God’s faithfulness. 205.1 Those in formation should see an example of cheerfully lived celibacy in our communities. Superiors and formation personnel in particular should present to our young men the meaning and implications of celibacy and educate them thoroughly in human sexuality as well as in the dignity and duties of Christian marriage. Above all, they will ensure those conditions that foster greater affective maturity. Candidates whose suitability is seriously questioned or who are unable to make a decision should not be admitted to vows. Consecrated chastity demands a clear, free and generous choice. Consecrated chastity calls for prudent and mature behavior not only in our dealings with others but also in what we choose to read and see : books, films, TV programs, etc. In all of this we should be considerate of the customs and sensitivities of those among whom we live.

205.2

205.3

206 A meaningful life in the state of consecrated celibacy presupposes personal friendship with Christ, living faith, fraternal sharing in community and selfless dedication to the commitments of our vocation. With confidence we ask Mary, who through her fiat became the mother of the Word Incarnate in virginal fruitfulness, to help us live out our vow from day to day in the strength and joy of the Holy Spirit.

Poverty
2. Evangelical Poverty 207 Jesus became poor to make us rich through his poverty (see 2 Co 8:9). He was sent to preach the good news to the poor (see Lk 4:18) and took his stand with them. He demanded that his coworkers leave all to follow him (see Mk 10:28-30). Our vocation, therefore, entails that we too share the poverty of Christ. For the Lord and for the sake of his kingdom, we place all that we have at the service of our apostolic mission and we choose like Christ to be one with the poor. 208 Our life of poverty acquires its deeper meaning and value when it leads us to poverty of spirit. This enables us to accept our dependence on God as his creatures, become inwardly free and detached from all earthly goods and honors and so be available and open to God and others. In this way we attain that joy promised in the beatitudes (see Mt 5:3 ff). 209 Poverty as lived by Christ demands of us solidarity with the poor and oppressed. We work with them to defend their rights and to overcome their misery. 209.1 Where circumstances indicate, members or communities are encouraged, after a process of discernment and after consulting with those who have experience, to share more radically the life of the poor among whom they live. In gathering and using the means needed for our apostolic work, we must be consistent with the demands of justice according to the gospel and our solidarity with the poor.

209.2

210 Our poverty has a missionary character. It calls us to generously place time, talents, work and community goods at the service of our missionary tasks. Only to the extent that earthly goods serve the kingdom of God can their use in the Society be justified. 210.1 As brothers of one family, we share our resources with communities and confreres in greater need. 211 As a missionary community pledged to poverty, we have an individual and communal responsibility to give witness to it. Confreres will strive to live a simple way of life and so become a challenge to the mentality of a consumer society. 212 The apostolic scope and community character of our poverty demands the conscientious use and administration of all temporal goods given to us. This responsibility falls upon the individual, the community and the superior. 212.3 The following are the chief failings against evangelical poverty: a) b) c) d) e) f) g) h) independence in the acquisition and use of goods; lack of simplicity in our manner of life; indolence at our work or wasting time; misappropriation or neglect of the Society’s goods; lack of ordinary prudence in expenditures and planning; employing improper methods in the acquisition or use of goods; failing to give an account of one’s finances or deceit in its compilation; narrow-mindedness and stinginess in considering the justified wishes of confreres and of the community; i) failing in social justice and charity towards our employees;

j) reluctance to pass on surplus funds to needy communities and the poor and for mission work; k) unwillingness to share the funds and goods that are legitimately given for our use and disposal. 213.2 213. The vow of poverty we bind ourselves to a simple lifestyle and renounce the right to dispose freely of temporal goods. We retain the right of ownership over personal goods and the capacity of owning and acquiring other goods but may dispose of them only with the permission of the superior.

A religious gifted with celibacy and living in a community will have to adapt a certain outlook on the things of the world and a certain attitude to them. This vision and this attitude is referred under the words Religious Poverty. In the Indian context it is difficult to give a witness value to poverty for we are much better off than the ordinary folk of the country. We are rich in material things, rich in grace, personal qualities, opportunities, education etc. So poverty should become poverty of the spirit and it should be expressed through our sharing nature. We also realize that the riches we possess are not of ours but it is given to us so that we may share. The vow of poverty will have to do much more in sharing than with not having. Our possession is a gift. We hold it all in stewardship and must share it broadly, freely, deeply and generously. We share our faith, hope, love and our capabilities and finally our own life in and out of the community. We are loved and blessed in so many ways so we can’t help but share. We must realize that the things we possess are to serve God. God must become the goal and norm of our life for primary of God in our lives gives secondary value to other things. Where we are obsessed by God other things do not seem to be so important but of course we enjoy other things also. Here poverty does not mean destitution. Poverty should be seen as simplicity. Poverty is seen in being free and generous in sharing what we have. Even Christ enjoyed relative comforts but he spoke of material things which hinder our spiritual growth. Our poverty can be seen if we had a simple life rendering our services freely and generously, sharing and developing a right attitude to material things. Today religious poverty must be a kind of protest. We try to live a kind of life that will in itself be a protest. We reject in our own lives the world’s cult of luxury. We refuse to be slaves to a consumer society. We reject a closed possessiveness and live open to all. We will show that we are happy with simple things and what we have. Through our lives we will show that sharing is really possible and our sharing is based on love and not on greed. Religious poverty must be a joyful thing. It should also spontaneous, a freely chosen attitude. Poverty is really redemptive. It expresses very well. The Christian conversion to son ship and brotherhood. Poverty is the introduction of men to the Trinitarian life which knows not the word ‘mine’.

Obedience
3. Apostolic Obedience 214 Jesus came not to do his own will but his Father’s (see Jn 6:38). Moved by the Spirit of love he discerned and obeyed this will in the everyday circumstances of life: in the home at Nazareth, in the midst of his disciples as one who serves (see Lk 22:27) and in his death on a cross (see Ph 2:8). He redeemed the world by obedience. Hence loving obedience is the basis for all Christian life and service. 215 We are called to follow the Lord in his obedience. In a spirit of faith we devote ourselves to the service of God and his people and bind ourselves to the Society of the Divine Word, its way of life and its missionary commitment within the church. For the glory of God and his kingdom, we

bind ourselves through vowed obedience to carry out what our superiors enjoin according to the constitutions of the Society. In exceptional cases and for a serious reason the superior can explicitly invoke the vow of obedience when issuing an order. 216 In a world where so many seek to impose their will upon others, our vowed obedience proclaims unity among all people under the sovereignty of God’s will. 217 Our obedience serves to unite us and coordinates our efforts, focusing them on the Society’s missionary goals. To attain these we are ready to go anywhere the Society sends us. We work at our assignments conscientiously but are prepared to hand them over to others, even after years of service. 218 We seek to know and do God’s will. This implies that we as individuals and communities enter into a true process of discernment. Final decisions rest with the superior, but by this wider participation in the discerning process insight is gained and obedience becomes more meaningful. 219 Despite striving for mutual understanding and collaboration, tensions cannot always be avoided. Our sense of responsibility sometimes obliges us to present a dissenting opinion to the superior and to give reasons for it. This should be done with respect but at the same time, freely and candidly. If the superior’s decision seems ill-founded, we should remember that we may not know all the circumstances and reasons known to him, and our submission may be necessary for the sake of unity. A situation of this kind provides the opportunity to penetrate more deeply into the mystery of Christ, who learned obedience through suffering (see Heb 5:8). 219.1 It may happen that a confrere, having considered everything thoroughly before God in prayer, is convinced in conscience that he cannot obey his immediate superior. He should then present the results of his discernment to that superior. If after mutual discernment, the confrere still believes he cannot accept the decision, the case should be presented to his higher superior. The confrere should pray for the readiness to accept the decision of the higher superior. Continuing inability to accept such decisions should be taken as a sign that he is not called to the Society.

220 Our commitment to the Lord and his service unfolds through the observance of the three evangelical counsels. There is but one love at work in them which urges us to an ever greater dedication. Because we are always on the way, this love can never cease to be active. Courage, endurance and joy on this pilgrimage come to us from the enriching presence of the Lord we follow, as well as from awareness that we do not make the journey alone but are accompanied by confreres striving for the same goal. Originally one obeyed the superiors for the love of God. The will of God was found in the will of the superior. His will was holy and had us to sanctity. Hence personal will was sacrificed. In a wider sense obedience meant accepting all things as coming from God. We today need to relive the obedience of Christ who became obedient even to a death on the cross. Religious obedience is not something for the sake of producing results or military obedience but it is a liberating obedience. The vow of obedience is a paradox : seemingly enslavement it is more deeply total freedom, for it is a lucid deliberate act by which a person totally commits himself for a lifetime. So obedience does not do away with freedom and responsibility with mature concern for what is really the right and best course of action. Obedience ultimately serves towards, or so it should, the fuller growth of free persons toward human maturity, independent judgment and freedom of spirit. In the olden days we had transcendent obedience where even insensible obedience was demanded. But today we have intelligent obedience. In this obedience there is a common good to be attained through the conjoined work of superiors and subjects and authority finds its norms and limitations here. The total climate of acceptance of support therefore does not carry over into a total interpretation an unlimited right of the superior to take over every aspect of the subjects life.

The modern religious wants the integration that brings together warmth without stifling oppression, functional efficiency without impersonality. This is made possible through the bond of friendship, based on a common dedication to the same Lord. Friendship in Christ is the primordial tie which replaces as well as transcends blood, soil and land. Obedience today is not frightening as it was used to be. Now we have scope for a trustful dialogue and discussion. We are informed of various things and we have an obligation to speak out what we feel to the superiors and others. By taking the vow of obedience I commit myself in freedom to the loving purpose of God. I make an act of faith that for me this loving purpose of God can best be found in a community and I make a declaration that in my search for God’s loving purpose in this community I need the gift of superiors. I need his guidance, evaluation and decision. So by vow of obedience I commit myself in freedom to search for the loving purpose of God with the gift of authority in the community of which I am a member. Promise to obedience can be best summarized as a promise to pray. Prayer becomes the center of obedience for in prayer we keep ourselves open to hear the prompting of the spirit and thus obedience becomes saying yes to the leading of the spirit. In prayer we become sensitive to the changing needs of the world. we realize, how much God loves no personally and therefore the service I do becomes my personal choice, my responsibility and my yes to things and not something imposed. The religious finds himself within a way of life that is shaped by an ideal, by a heritage and by a present experience. He lives a life, somehow determined in the past and yet, kept in constant movement by the pull of an ideal still to be achieved. Religious are meant to be a striving people; they can never rest in the way their heritage has shaped them. They must always look out and up to the ideal of a Gospel life. But neither the heritage nor the ideal can override the importance of the present experience. Our present experience is the place where God’s spirit calls us and works in us. He speaks and acts within our present experience, but he uses the heritage of the past and points to the ideal in the future. Religious life, in such a transitional period must reflect the challenge which faces the whole church. She is going through that most difficult of all phases in life – a phase of adaptation and adjustment. To throw open the doors to a multiplicity of ideas and yet to stand on the foundation on which she was built is a move that calls for courage and discernment. The world of today is in very much change. So our vows must find meaning and justification in the particular needs of the world which are sharp and where God’s immediate purpose presses on us very insistently. Our vow of poverty find meaning not in renunciation of certain things but in living, a simple life style and in sharing – sharing selflessly. We need to resist the pressures laid on us by the consumer society in which we live. The reason for talking up this attitude is not merely because such a society is so ‘worldly’ but mainly because it is so often a cover for monstrous injustice and oppression. It subtly dechristianises the goals for which people live and strive. In this period of transition the religious are called to give an effective and a truly Christian leadership. We need to help in the work of renewal by a positive growth. There is also a need for the development of a deeper prayer life on a community level. The spirit of God is urging us on to a deeper prayer life. We should be sensitive to his urging. Let us not forget that we have to invest something in our life before his urging will be effective. Our vows must be like a holder to the light. They should not become a burden, but enable us to function and work better and freely under the inspiration and guidance of the spirit. The vow of celibacy should bring in us a greater love. It should enable us to love more and more people of God and not attached only to a few. So celibacy has to make us more loving people and not sad and gloomy. The vow of obedience does not restrict our freedom any way. we need to be more open to listen to others and speak out what we feel so that we can reach an understanding where’s we can reach out many people. The vows of poverty and obedience do not have much effect regarding witness value in the present context as they are not so much of visible signs to the people. But the vow of celibacy has

a greater witness value. It becomes a challenging existence and a questioning presence in the church and in the world. Hence we need to live a chaste life and give witness through it. Hence vows should make us loving people, cheerful people and not sad, depressed and arrogant. Vows should free us to love as honestly, broad mindedly, deeply, unselfishly as God does. Vows Religious begin their life with the absolute and SM explains this. Here we realize that Jesus is one thing necessary for religious and from this point we reach out to the world. For most of us this experience takes place in a gradual manner in life’s rhythm. Whole of religious life is rooted in Gospel. Therefore only essential for Christians is Gospel. I pattern my life on the pattern of Jesus. It opens up me to the needs of the world. These needs become a consuming passion. This is different from person getting stuck up in humanitarian work – for they give from abundance and may not be touched or affected by suffering. The vows are instruments or means for living out radicality of the Gospel. Religious need to be charismatic. Even though institutions back us we need not be dependent. We need to be Gospel oriented people and not ritual oriented. Gospel is good news because it speaks of God’s forgiving, saving love of a sinner. Gospel – Mary of Magdala, Publican, Women caught in adultery, Prodigal son Law – Simon, Pharisee, Elder son Our responsibility is to reach out to those who are living a wretched or sinful life an give them our love. Live Love not Law. Love is the free gift of God. We are confronted many times by God’s love whether we see it or not. That’s why we need to pray that we may see and hear. Most of us react or endure rather actively take initiative to discern God’s will. It is said most of us use 40-60% of our potentiality. We prefer to lead mediocratic life. But in living our vows we are called to live our potentiality to its full by giving up mediocrity. Three Good(s) Family (Chastity) To Love Be Loved Sex Maximum Pleasure Basic Necessities (Poverty) To Possess To Appropriate Money Maximum Enjoyment Legitimate Authority (Obedience) Self Affirmation Power Absolute Power

These are three good things but ambiguous realities. They are good because in normal life they are used. I can abuse these when I use them wrongly. This is the situation of the world today – Glorification of self. Proper use leads me beyond self. In maximum pleasure Eros glorified, in maximum enjoyment mammon idealized, in maximum power Caesar deified. A religious who holds Jesus one thing necessary can act freely in this situation because one has experienced Jesus love and so nothing affects him. When I take vows I actively carve out freedom in my life. I do not react or endure. I freely choose to take up different life-style that is different from the world.

Call of the Prophets

‘Call’ (noun) – no corresponding word in Hebrew but we have it in Greek ‘Klesis’ – I Cor. 1/26 Call = grace to believe in JXt. The word call comes 11 times in the NT – Rom 11/29, 2Pet.1/10. To Call (Verb) also found in Hebrew ‘Qara’ – I Sam 3/4ff Call is used as initial address to get attention of the person. It does not mean vocation. Is. 49/1. Is. 6/8 is the key text for call narrative. Here call means to send and to go. These two words are essentially for commissioning. Jdg. 6/14 – go and send Ex 3/10 – go and send OT presents vocation not under the aspect of calling but commissioning. The task of taking the message is more important than the personal satisfaction to be called by God. For every major person commissioning by God is described. Vocation or call narratives are centred around great persons of OT. Moses – Ex 3/1-12 Samuel – I Sam. 3/1-14 Gideon – Jdg. 6/11-24 Isaiah – 6/1ff Jeremiah – 1/4 –10 Ezekiel – 1/4 -24 The call stand in the beginning of their lives. It is a plan of God which will be fulfilled later in their lives. Three Elements of Calling 1. God graciously chooses these persons 2. God transforms the life of the person he sends 3. God uses these persons constantly for life time

Forms of Call narratives
Zimmerli distinguishes two forms of commissioning or call narratives a. More marked by Vision – Is 6, Ezk. 1 Ezk. 1/4, 6 – Stress is on the scene or vision v. 4, 15 – see, v. 3 – ‘the word’ is also found, v. 24 – sound Vision and words are not exclusive. In a passage marked by vision we also find lots of words and sound. b. More marked by Word – Jer. 1/10 - 14ff, Vision – v. 11ff – to see. Even the classical texts cited are of combination of both word and vision. This would mean God addresses the whole person – his sense of seeing and hearing. Quota of speech: Is. 6/8, 9, 11ff – God speaks 72 words, Human Person 27 words Ex. 3ff 425 words – God, 84 words - Moses Ezk. 1-3 266 words – God, No words from Ezekiel Ex Chs. 3 - 4 - Narrator – 79 words and dialogue 509 words High stress is laid on dialogue. Narrator speaks less important things. Here also word is stressed. The divine word plays central role in commissioning. Dialogue tells us that God is interested in human reactions and answers.

Call Pattern
In the Bible there emerges a rather set pattern to narrate the vocation, mission of the men and women chosen by God to assume a responsibility within the history of salvation. Habel Richter found out ‘call pattern’. Five elements that are found in the call pattern are 1. Suffering - Ex 3/7

When God commissions a person the person it is the answer of his perception of human suffering. Ex. 1, 2 – Often lack of something or suffering of our dear ones place a vital role in motivating us for our vocation. Mk. 3/7 -13 v. 7-12 great multitude following Jesus v. 10 – Curing and healing people v. 11 – Persons with unclean spirits The pain and suffering of people urges Jesus to call the 12 to help him out in his mission. 2. Sending – Ex. 3/10 Mt. 10/5 – Go Mt. 9/36 – Experience of the suffering of the people urges Jesus to send his disciples. For the disciples sending implies suffering of foregoing. Sending demands change of life. 3. Objection Ex. 3/11 Inability, unwillingness or incapacity of understanding God’s mission. Objection is not to be interpreted as laziness, evil spirit, bad person on the contrary they are the authentic expressions to know in a deeper way what God demands of them. Lk. 5/8 – Depart from me Lord Lk. 9/59, 61 – Lord let me first bury my father Ex. Chs. 3 and 4 – Five Objections of Moses a. Ex. 3/11- Question - Who am I? A question expresses normally uncertainty of oneself. This question is found 3 times in OT. David’s feeling of unworthiness 1 Sam. 18/18 2 Sam. 7/18 Elizabeth - Who am I that the mother of God... Likewise Moses expresses his unworthiness of God’s call. Call is not our choice. To be called is a grace. It is not because I am worthy that God has called us but because he is gracious. b. Once again a question - What is his name? What shall I say to them? Moses puts forward Israelites objections. God takes Moses objections seriously and answers in many ways. 14a – Answer to Moses – significance of his name – future existence. 14b – Answer to people 15 a – Answer to people – what is His name – Yhwh. c. When people do not believe he does not know what to do. 3/11 – I, 3/13 – You, 4/1 – They these three form the parties of a call. With the third party unbelief is related. 4/11- indicates difficulty of Moses with the objection of people. We are called to reckon with opposition, confrontation. There are some who accept our message and a few who oppose. Moses too puts forward in his third objection the confrontation which he faces from his people. It is not only Moses but later on all major prophets, Isaiah, Hosea, Jeremiah too experience this confrontation. d. Ex. 4/10 – Moses says he is not able to speak. In the 1st , 2nd and 3rd objections we had conditional phrases or questions. Here there is change in the pattern. No questions anymore. He affirms not to be able for God’s mission. If we analyse Moses, talk with God so far we find that he is a master of speech. Moses thinks that he is incapable. In fact he is capable but he assesses himself incapable for God’s mission. Fourth objection expresses the problem of communicating God’s word and transmitting it adequately. e. Ex. 4/13 - Send someone else - Moses refuses to take over God’s commission and asks God to send someone else. But he gives no argument. It seems basic unwillingness or uneasiness within Moses This rejection is unique to whole of Bible. Only Jonah in deed rejects God’s plan.

We need to openly express our inner feelings to the Lord. Look at our inner resistance to the call of God. In Ex. Chs. 3 and 4 we read the summary of 5 objections. 3/12 – Moses completely picks up what God speaks but 4/13 he rejects. First objection he repeats what God says. In the second and third – them and their - objection is raised. Fourth and Fifth – You. There is development in his personal relationship with God. He could directly speak to God. The dialogue with God transforms Moses. He could authentically express what he feels deep within. Speaking to God about what we feel deep within freely, even if it appears to be rejection could be a good prayer. The objections do not weaken the vocation on the contrary the objections lead to threefold assurance – I will be with you, with your mouth and with Aaron. These objections lead to a deeper confirmation of it. 4. Assurance Ex. 3/12 Assurance is expressed in classical formula - ‘I will be with you’. God does not have the person commissioned alone but he assures his presence always. Ex. 4/14- 15 – Aaron- We do not go alone in to the mission. We receive the support and company of others. We are commissioned with others. Sending is not just between God and me but also with others. v. 15 – Besides the general assurance given in 3/12 once again assurance is given in a specific way – God will speak through Aaron. God will be with Moses and Aaron. V. 16 – distribution of work – word – Aaron and deeds – Moses. 5. Sign Ex. 3/12 Only in this case the sign is referred to a future time and Moses is asked to believe. “When you have brought forth the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God upon this mountain”. Other cases the sign is given immediately. In case of Moses the sign is the culminating point of his sending. Call of Gideon Jdg. 6/11-13 – Suffering, 14- Sending, 15- Objection, 16- Assurance and 17- Sign. Jonah 1 Flight – ‘go down’ = to escape God’s call can be ‘going down’, sinking in our life. Ch. 1 – Jonah is frightened to face the people – fear of being ridiculed, being treated as false prophet. 2 – Prayer of Jonah – expresses the illusive state of his behaviour. 3 – Conversion of Nineveh 4 – Reaction of Jonah to God’s plan to save Nineveh. Jdg. 4/8-9 Barak’s response to Deborah – “If you will go with me, I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go”. Objection – in the form of condition. Sometimes our prayer too can be like this. Twisted call pattern Is. 6/5 – Objection : “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” v. 6 –7 – Assurance: Touching the coal to the mouth of the prophet. v. 8 – Sending: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, Here am I! Send me.” And he said, God, and say to this people ... Ezk. 2/3 – Sending, 3ff – Not the resistance of the prophet but resistance of people to God’s word, 6 – Assurance, Exhortation, 8-9 – Sign. Through their call narratives we also realize that prophets were ordinary people chosen by God from the community to carry out a specific task. Sometimes they had difficulty in accepting the

call. They were hesitant to respond. Once they were given the assurance they carried out their responsibility with dedication and were ready to face the consequences and thus suffered a lot in their lives. They had the experience of God. They were men of word and vision. They not only accused the people but also exhorted them to change their lives in the name of God. They also warned people on time of the impending danger and many times gave them the hope through their oracles of weal, forgiveness and restoration.

NOTION OF VOCATION Step 1. Personal Work: (In writing) Try to explain as accurately as possible the meaning of “vocation” in the following contexts: 1. In our school we had a “vocational guidance” week. 2. Anthony has no “vocation” to be a doctor. 3. This teacher has not got a sense of “vocation”. 4. Every man has a “vocation” to serve his neighbour. 5. Today at mass we prayed for “vocations”. 6. There are plenty of “vocations” in Kerala. 7. After being in the seminary for three years, Peter lost his “vocation”. 8. Marriage is a “vocation” 9. All Christmas have a “vocation”. 10. Our Lady’s “vocation” was to become the mother of Christ. Step 2. Small Group Work: a) Share and discuss your answers. b) Come to an agreement. Write a consensus report.

Step 3. General Session: a) Reports from the small groups. b) Round table conference, or panel discussion or debate. c) Summing up: Input by the moderator : 1) Vocation = the way of life to which God invites us and for which he has given us necessary aptitudes. In particular: i. ii. iii. A state of life (married or unmarried) pursued in response to God’s call or invitation. A function, service or ministry in the Church (priestly ministry, preaching, healing, social service, human rights, teaching…) A profession pursued in response to God as a service to others. (Engineer, architect, carpenter…)

2) When no reference is made to God as the one calling, it is inaccurate to speak of “vocation”. This way of speaking is misleading, though common. People speak of vocation when someone does a job with selfless dedication; v. g nursing, teaching, etc.. In these cases, the call, so to say,

arises from the urgency or the challenging nature of the work, not precisely from God. However, if one implicitly takes it for granted that such calling comes from God, we could call it a “vocation” in a broad sense. 3) To use the word “vocation” as a mere synonym of a job, profession occupation would be a misnomer. A job or occupation taken solely for the sake of profit or as a means of livelihood is not a vocation. 4) We shall take the word “vocation” in this workshop in its strict sense, namely, a call from God to us Christians to serve the Church and through the Church to serve the whole world.

HOW TO KNOW ONE’S VOCATION. Step 1. Small Group Work: a) Discuss the following cases: (or a few of them). 1. John wants to become a doctor. When asked why he has chosen this profession he tells us that he is very good at studies, that he will easily secure a 75% in his public exams. Besides medicine is a very lucrative profession. Is his the right way to find out his vocation? 2. Mary says that she wants to join the convent. When she is asked why, she says that her parents want it. Besides, at home they are poor and they cannot afford giving her a dowry. What do you say about her choice of vocation/ 3. Joseph says that he want to carry on the family business. When asked why, he replies: It’s easy for me. I will have no worries. The business is prosperous, it is well established. The future is rosy. What would you tell Joseph about his vocation? 4. Andrew has decided to join the seminary. He says that for a long time he felt inclined to do so. He likes it. Is his choice correct? 5. James has joined a Technical School. When asked why he has chosen this “vocation” he says: What else could I do? I could not secure admission anywhere else. Beggars are not choosers! What to you think about James “vocation”? 6. Rose wants to be a singer. She says she feels called to this type of life. When she is asked why, she tells us that she likes popularity, to be famous, to get the applause of the crowds… Was hers a good criterion to choose her vocation. b) As a Group list some criteria for choosing one’s vocation: 1. Compile a long list of possible reasons for choosing a vocation, a job, or state of life: v.g. money, honour, inclination, etc… 2. Then list them into columns under headings : Wrong and Insufficient Criteria. Good Criteria. …………………………. ……………..

…………………………. …………………………. Etc…... Step 2. General Session: a) Reports from the Groups. b) Discussion. Coming to an agreement. c) Summing up: Input by the moderator.

…………….. …………….. Etc…...

1) Some insufficient/wrong criteria: * Money: Temporal gains, economic security, high salary. * Ease and comfort: A job that is easy, no sacrifice is implied. * Honour and respect: Popularity, social status, authority, fame. * Wish of parents and relatives: Coaxing, being told… * Same job as one’s father: Family traditions, family business… * Escaping from a difficult situation: Unhappy home atmosphere… * Moved by fear: Superstitions, to escape God’s punishments… * Feeling forced to: As a result of a vow I took long ago… * To secure my salvation: To be holy, to go to heaven… * Withdrawal: From life, from sex, from society… * A vague “feeling”: I just “feel like”… *Out of a disappointment: Disappointed in love…loss of parents or intimate friends, economic failure… * Nothing else to do: I cannot get a job, I have no other opportunities… * Etc… 2) Correct Criteria: (Explain line by line. It’s a very dense summary) - The needs of the world: (Peace, Justice, Health, Human Promotion…) - And the needs of the Church: (Services and ministries to build the Christian Community…) - Coupled with one’s aptitudes, circumstances, opportunities and legitimate interests. - Seen as signs from God: (God speaks to us in our here and now). - And considered with an open mind: (i.e. no prejudices or attachments) - With much prayer and reflection: (i.e. discernment). - With a generous heart: (Readiness to serve and give oneself). - And willingness to seek advice: (i.e. spiritual direction and guidance). - And a joyful readiness to accept God’s will: Step 3. Group Prayer Session: - That we may find our “vocation” in life: i.e. how God wants us to serve the world and the Church in our here and now, and in our future. - Take some Gospel Texts: Our Lady’s Vocation: Lk. 1/26-38. St. Joseph’s Vocation: Mt. 1/18-25. Zacchaeus’s Vocation: Lk. 19/1-10. Stephen’s Vocation: Act 6/1-7. Disciples’ Vocation: Mt 4/18-22. St. Paul’s Vocation: Acts 9/1-18. - End by having some shared and spontaneous prayer. CALLED TO APOSTLESHIP TO PROCLAIM THE GOSPEL

Step 1. Small Group Work: Discuss the following cases: (Or some of them) 1. Peter, a doctor, says: I am not a priest, I am a doctor. I am not called to preach the Gospel. Do not bother me. Let me look after patients… Let the priests do their job, I’ll do mine. Do you agree with his way of thinking? What would you tell him? 2. Mrs. Chacko says: I am not expected to preach. My preaching has to be done at home, my family is my audience. It’s none of my business to proclaim the Gospel. What do you think of her reasoning? Right? Wrong? Partially right? 3. Sr. Philomena is teaching Maths in a Higher Secondary School. She is fully busy teaching her subject. She says, God doesn’t want me to preach the Gospel but just teach Maths. By the fact that my superiors have given me this assignment the will of God is very clear to me. Do you think she is right? What would you tell her? 4. Prakash is a catechist. He is preaching the Gospel and instructs the catechumens. He says: This is my job. I am paid for it. If someone gives me a better pay, I’ll change my job. How do you feel about his attitude? Is he really proclaiming Christ? 5. Fr. John is the Parish Priest and the Principal of the School. He says I am so busy with all these works that I have no time to preach much less to do missionary work. I do enough for God. Do you agree with his way of looking at things? What to do in such situation? Anthony who has finished his higher secondary is about to choose his future profession. He never thought of whether in choosing his vocation by means of his career he will be able to proclaim Christ to others? Is his choice good or faulty? b) Read and discuss the following texts: 1. Mt. 28/16-20; Mk. 16/15-20. (Go to the whole word …) 2. Jn. 15/16. (I chose you … to go and bear much fruit) 3. Jn. 17/20-23; (I pray … also for those who will believe in me …) 4. Mt. 5/13-16: (You are the light … you are the salt …) Answer to these questions: 1. Who is called to preach the Gospel? 2. Who is called to be light and salt of the world? 3. Who has to bear fruit? Step 2. General Session: a) Reports from the Groups. b) Discussion. Coming to an agreement. c) Summing up : Input by the moderator: 1. All Christians are called to proclaim the gospel ! None is excluded: Reasons. - Because Christ commanded it to all of us. - Because of the love we have for Christ. We should speak from the abundance of

our hearts… - Because of the love we bear for our neighbours. The best gift we can offer them is Christ and the good news! 2. Not all are called to do it in the same way. v.g. There are: *Full-time apostles and preachers *Teachers. *Catechists *Youth animators. *Charismatic leaders. *Educators. *Lay missionaries. *Directors of Christian organizations. *Writers. *Theologians, Etc …

3. Each one has to discern in what way and to what extent he has to proclaim the Gospel according to – *His abilities. *The circumstances of his life. *The opportunities available. *The job or profession he has. *The inner promptings of God. 4. Some may be called to be fulltime preachers : Like Paul. Acts 9/15 Eph. 3/7-9 2 Cor. 4/5 Gal 2/2 “see apart” “received the grace and gift of apostleship” “servant of Christ” “sent in a mission”.

Have you ever thought of the possibility of your being chosen to preach the Gospel? Not necessary to become a priest for that! Step 3. Prayer Session: - That all of us may become conscious of our duty to proclaim the good news, to preach Christ to the world. - That we may sincerely discern in what way and to what extent we are called to this vocation. - That God may raise from among us some “full-time” preachers like Paul. - You may comment on any of the texts given above or on any of the following: Rom. 10/14-17. 2 Tim. 4/1-5. “how will they hear without a preacher”? “preach in season and out of season”

- End by some shared and spontaneous prayer.

WHAT IS A PRIESTLY VOCATION.

Step 1. Small Group Work: a) Discuss the following and try to come to some agreement. - What is the function or the type of service a priest is called to render in the Church? i. Parish administrator. ii. Church “pujari”, i.e. perform worship. iii. Community or village leader. iv. Preacher of the Gospel. v. Administering the Sacraments. vi. Pastoral guidance. vii. Man of God, sort of a “Guru”. viii. Social worker. ix. Helping the poor by means of charities. x. Promotion of human rights. xi. School teacher. xii. Catechist. xiii. Theological scholar. xiv. Principal or correspondent of a school. xv. Fund raising. xvi. Youth moderator. Etc. - Can you summarize the functions of a priest in a few words? - Can all the above descriptions be reconciled with the strictly “priestly” ministry? - How would you describe the function of a priest within the Christian community? - Why are our priests expected to do so many jobs? Should they?

b) Discuss the following cases: 1. Thomas, a newly ordained priest is told by his parish priest to teach history and geography in Std VII. He refuses under the pretext that he did not join the priesthood to teach secular subjects. Is he right or wrong? Should he obey or not? 2. Paul began doing social work in the slums of the parish. The P.P. tells him to stop, because this type of work is not supposed to be done by the priests; a priest is not ordained to be a social worker. Is the P.P. right or wrong? Whose duty is it to do social work? Is it the function of the priest to do social work? 3. Andrew the new Bishop, removes 20 priests from the post of Principal in his Diocesan Schools and replaces them by lay people. He says: I do not expect my priests to be principals, I want them to be “priests” ! Is it a wise move? Is the Bishop right? Do you agree with him? 4. Peter, a new priest, comes to work in a parish. He tells his P.P. : I am ready for preaching, saying Mass and administering the sacraments. Beyond this, do not give any other work. I am a “priest”. What do you think of his stand? - Can you find out why there is so much confusion as regards the roles a priest has to play in function of his vocation? - What can be done? What would you do?

Step 2. General Session: a) Reports from the groups. b) Discussion. Try to come to some agreement. c) Summing up : Input by the moderator. (Make it as simple as possible) 1. Teaching of Vatican II : The priestly ministry is a share in the mission of Jesus Christ to build up God’s people : i.e. the Church Community living in harmony with God’s designs. This mission of Jesus Christ includes the functions of teacher, sanctifier and pastor (prophet, priest, king /shepherd) combined into one function. Priests share in this ministry in subordination to the bishops (car. PO 1 & 2) ii. iii. The first function or duty of the priest is that of proclaiming the Gospel to all. (Teacher/prophet) (Car : PO 4) But the priest should always remember that the liturgy, particularly the celebration of the Eucharist, is the source and summit of his preaching ministry. (Priest/sanctifier) (Car. PO 5) However, this liturgy must never be divorced from life; it should be the celebration of Christian life. Therefore, the priestly function also includes the pastoral task of community building through education towards Christian maturity. (Pastor/shepherd/guide) (Car. PO 6)

iv.

2. Hence the priestly ministry is a function of service among the people concerning: i. ii. iii. iv. v. Preaching the word to stimulate faith and Christian conduct. Celebrating and intensifying Christian life through the sacraments, specially the Eucharist. Guiding and encouraging (in common and in private, in general and particular issues) the Christian life towards greater and greater perfection. Building the Christian community, being agents of union, co-ordination and harmony. Leadership of service.

3. Therefore, the priestly ministry is not merely a human type of leadership but a share in the specific leadership of Jesus Christ. As leadership is characterized by service, to be convincing, it should be coupled by holiness of life in the example of our model, our Lord Jesus Christ. 4. The reasons for the confusion existing as regards the roles of the priestly ministry arose from: i. The fact that the vocation of all Christians seen as a service to be performed by each and all according to each one’s charism had been lost sight of. ii. This, the priests and religious (men and women) were supposed to carry out the impossible task of performing “all sorts of services and ministries” within the Church. iii. The image of the priestly and religious vocation had been so idealized and idolized that “de facto” they had become the only “vocations” for a Christian to choose from. In reality, the clerics had become the “Church”.

iv. Thus the final outcome of such clericalization of the Church was that the only way to serve the Church was to become a cleric ! Priests and sisters and brothers had to do everything in the Church ! 5. With the rediscovery that all the members of the Church have a vocation, that all, without exception, are called to serve and minister according to their charisms and call, the priestly vocation as the ministering to the people of God in preaching the word, in worship and in building the Christian community, has been rediscovered too ! Step 3. Prayer Session: - That God may call many of our brothers to serve the Church in the ministerial priesthood. - That all of us may realize that many of the works done by the priests should be done by us all, and so that they may be more free to perform their specific ministry. - That all Christians may realize that not only priests but everybody has to serve and minister in the Church, - Take texts: Mt. 28/16-20 Jn. 15/16 Mt. 5/13-16 Rom. 10/14-17

Read, comment and pray.

- End by a shared and spontaneous prayer.

THE IMAGE OF THE PRIEST FROM NEW TESTAMENT TIMES TO VATICAN II By: Fr. Leslie Ratus. I. Priesthood in the New Testament. a) The word “Priest” is never used to speak of the Christian minister. “Priest” meant the servant of the Deity who stood between the Deity and the people with the exclusive function of mediating reconciliation or salvation, and who did this particularly through a ritual sacrifice and by acting as a mantic oracle. This concept the NT rejected. b) If Jesus Christ is called “priest” (only in Hebrews) he is so in a way that goes far beyond any other parallel in the history of religions; he goes beyond the cultic barriers and ritual legislation , the sacred profane distinction, he shatters all human notions of power and lordship – His work of reconciliation and fulfilling is exercised in the visible environment of every day life in the world. c) Participation in the priestly ministry of Jesus is primarily an attribute of the Church as a whole, in which there is a variety of ministers. d) The official Presbyterian ministry is seen to be a charism of “administrative leadership” which is directed towards promoting the unity of the Church in its three principal manifestations: faith (teaching office), worship (sanctifying office) and fellowship of life (ruling office).

VOCATION TO THE PRIESTHOOD - WHO CALLS A MAN TO BE A PRIEST. Step 1. Small Group Work. a) Study and Discussion of Bible texts: Compare the following texts and find out “who” is calling or choosing people for the specific task to build the “community of God’s children”. Ex. 3/7-12 Mk 3/13-14 Acts 6/1-6 Acts 14/23 Acts 20/28 “then Yahweh (the Lord) said : Come, I will send you…” “and he (Jesus) called to him those whom he wanted…” “therefore brethren (the Christian community), pick out from Among you seven men…whom we (the disciples) may appoint to this duty…” “and they (Paul and Barnabas) appointed elders for them in every church...” “take heed to yourselves (the elders) and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you guardians…”

According to these texts it seems that all the following agents are calling: *God. *Jesus. *The Church. (as Christian community) *The Disciples, Paul and Barnabas (Those in authority. The hierarchy) *The Holy Spirit. Can you reconcile all these with one a another? Who is actually calling? b) Discuss the following cases: 1. James has been a seminarian for several years. He says that he is certain that God calls him to be a priest. His bishop, however, tells him that he has no vocation and that he should leave the seminary. Has James a vocation? Who calls him to the priesthood? God or the Bishop? 2. Andrew, a young priest says that he joined the priesthood because his parents told him to do so. Now he is a priest ! Who called him? Has he a vocation at all? Should he leave the priesthood? 3. Luke comes to his parish priest for advice. He asks him : Tell me father, do I have a vocation to become a priest? If you think I have it I’ll join the seminary. The parish priest said : I think you have it. And so Luke joined the seminary. Who called him? Who gave him a vocation? 4. Barthol joined the seminary because he could not secure a job anywhere. Eventually, he was ordained a priest; and now he is a very good priest. Where did his vocation come from? Who called him? Step 2. General Session: a) Reports from the groups. b) Discussion. Coming to some agreement. c) Summing up : Input by the moderator : 1. A vocation to the priesthood is a call from God to minister to the Church in a very specific way : namely,

* To build up the Christian community, * To be a leader to the people of God. * To preside over the official worship of the Church. * To offer sacramental ministrations to his brothers and sisters. * To break the word of God to them in special way. Therefore two essential elements are necessary : * The call of God. *And the official acceptance of the Church or of her Leaders. Now, according to the existing discipline, this acceptance has to come through the Hierarchy. (the official and lawfully appointed leaders) 2. All Christians are called to minister to the Church and her needs, each one according to his charism. The ministry of the priesthood, however, has to be accepted and sanctioned by the official church. No one can appoint himself to the office of the priesthood. 3. Ultimately, God’s will is the all-important factor. God makes his will known in Jesus Christ and (after the Ascension) through the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Concretely, the Holy Spirit operates through the Church as a real and existing institution. 4. Vatican II. OT, 2: “… Such an active partnership between the people of God in the work of encouraging vocations corresponds to the activity of divine providence. For God properly endows and aids with his grace those men divinely chosen to share in Christ’s hierarchical priesthood. To the lawful ministers of the Church he confides the work of calling proven candidates whose fitness has been acknowledged and who seek so exalted an office with the right intention and full freedom. Her ministers exercise the further commission of consecrating such men with the seal of the Holy Spirit to the worship of God and the service of the Church” Step 3. Prayer Session. - Let us pray for many and good priests for the Church. - That we may support and help them in their ministry. - That those of us who might feel called to serve the Church as priests may be prompt to heed the call of God. - You may pray on the text of Mathew : 9/35-38. “pray to the owner of the harvest.” - End by a shared and spontaneous prayer. RELIGIOUS VOCATION. CONSECRATED DEDICATION. Step1. Small Group Session : a) Discuss the following cases : 1. Mary feels jealous of her brother who is about to join the priesthood. To console her, her mother tells Mary: You need not feel bad. You too can do it. You can become a sister: You can become a religious ! Are these two vocations the same? Give reasons for your answer.

2. Peter become a religious brother. He is now told by his superior to run a press. He says: I didn’t become a religious to be a printer ! To run a press I could have got married as well ! Is Peter’s thinking correct or faulty? Give reasons for your answer. 3. Joan says: The ambition of my life was to become a doctor. So I joined the Medical Sisters. Has Joan a vocation to be a sister? What should she do? 4. I read an advert that says: If you like adventure, if you want to work for the poor and the exploited, join our Congregation X.Y.Z. Do you approve of this advert? Give reasons for your answer. 5. Sebastian tells the Provincial of a Religious Congregation he intends joining : My desire has been to imitate Christ’s simplicity, detachment, dedication and service to the neighbour. I feel fit to do the work you do in the villages for the poor. I like this work. I want to join you. Has Sebastian a vocation to this religious congregation? Give reasons for your answer. Has he left out any essential element of a religious vocation? If so, which? (Community life) b) Draw a list of the essential elements that make a religious vocation. c) Discuss the following points: 1. Main differences between a priestly vocation and a religious vocation. 2. What’s the difference between the vocation of a brother and that of a nun? 3. Can a religious become a priest? Why? What will the priesthood add to his religious vocation? 4. Can a priest become a religious? Why? What difference will it make in his life? Step 2. General Session: a) Reports from the groups. b) Discussion. Coming to some agreement. c) Summing up : Input by the moderator: 1. Difference between a priestly and a religious vocation: i. A priest is called to serve and minister to the Church in a very specific way as seen in session fifth. He should be holy and dedicated. However, his call essentially is not to a way of life, but to a way of service. He could, absolutely speaking, be a married person, as we have married priests in the Catholic Greek Orthodox Church. A religious is called to dedicated and consecrated style of life. He has to practice the evangelical counsels and according to the Church’s law he/she has to take the three vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. ii. A priest is not bound to live in a community keeping a common rule, customs and life. Community life, on the other hand is essential to religious life. A religious belongs to a community. iii. A priest is linked to a diocese and he is under the care and authority of the bishop of that diocese. A religious is placed under the authority of his religious superior and in most cases, he is not linked to any special diocese. He can be transferred to any part of the world.

iv. A priest may possess his own belongings and own properties, or inherit his parents possessions. A religious may not. He has to renounce and abdicate his right to all possessions, properties and inheritance. 2. Essential elements of a religious vocation: Dedicated life. Committed to practice the Evangelical Counsels. Consecrated by vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Community life. Following a rule. Belonging to a religious congregation approved by the Church. It has nothing to do with the job, work or service or ministry one performs within the Church. A religious can do any service or ministry according to his charism and the directions of his superiors. 3. Final thoughts: No one should join the religious life just because he feels called to do some special service or ministry in the Church. He/she could as well do this service as a lay or married person. A religious may feel called to do priestly ministry and so ask for ordination. In that case his vocational style of life will be religious, his ministerial vocation will be priestly. It is possible, too, that a priest already in the ministry feels called to the vocational life style of a religious and so he may join a religious congregation. No one should ever join the religious life if his intention is only to do priestly ministry. Therefore, before a candidate joins the Seminary or the Novitiate he should discern very clearly to what sort of vocation he is called. Step 3. Prayer Session : - That many Christians may feel the call to a life of consecrated dedication. - That all religious may be witnesses to the whole world of their belief in the beyond, in spiritual values and so help all their brothers and sisters to live a life of service and dedication. - That the beauty and meaning of the Religious vocation may be made known to all our Christian people. - For all the thousands of religious scattered all over the world, sisters, brothers and priests. - Take the text: Mk 10/17-31. The Rich Young ma. Read, comment and pray. - End by a shared and spontaneous prayer.

Religious Vocation
What is religious vocation? What is the specific identity I have as a religious? What will differentiate me from other vocations?

In a vocation the initiative comes from God and individual is left free to respond. As a religious I am specifically set apart for God and His Kingdom. Charism of each Society gives a slant in living out the kingdom of God. A religious vocation demands different pattern of life, life-style. Radical Commitment Living out the Evangelical Counsels - Sermon on the Mount Mt. Chs. 5-7. Witnessing through one’s life Community – Congregation and its Rules - Constitutions In the Gospels we find two types of people – 1. Parents of Jesus – Joseph and Mary Nichodemus Martha, Mary and Lazarus Joseph of Aramathea Zachaeus Mary Magdalene Other women There were radical yet kept their life style. 2. Twelve Apostles – They adopted a new life style. They left everything and began to live in a group called by Jesus. Their mission was to be with and to follow Jesus. Jesus’ mission became their mission. Both the groups live a life of true Christian, radical, witness, community etc. But the later group has a different life style. Religious life is it a mere Profession? Profession means doing something – apostolate – mission. Are we meant only for this?

Marriage Project: Two people come together through the sacrament of marriage. Their whole life project must be grounded by a set of values. If a lay person loses his faith in God his life project does not crumble because their foundation is commitment to each other and they can fill their life with some other values and go on. Religious Project When Religious person loses his faith in God he loses his life project for God is his absolute. He is the foundation of his life project. Mt. 13:44-45 – position of joy – I have found the answer. It is a radicality of moment to moment. I need not wait for crisis to leave the values. Vows proclaim that at no moment in my life I am available for other things except for god. I am not looking forward to another person to give me joy and meaning. God is my ultimate reference point. . But nobody can live this moment to moment commitment without an experience of God. So this experience can come suddenly like Paul or gradually. Phil. 3 – Paul’s mystical experience leads him to consider everything as rubbish or straw. The sole purpose of religious life is to live a life for God, serving Him through our undivided heart by living a life of holiness and serving his people and the world. St. Thomas says you are a religious because they bind themselves completely to Divine Service as if they were offering a holocaust to God. Vatican II say religious give totally to God whom they love above all else. Love of God is inclusive of love of everything that is good. Only we should not substitute a creature for God. Service and love of God is not possible by running away from the world for our

meeting with God takes place within the world. So every form of discipleship should have meaning here and now and every form of service rendered to God is service rendered to humanity, world and church. The primary taste of a religious is to live a life of holiness. He can build up this if he lives on the Gospel values and a close and intimate relationship with God which transforms our lives and thus makes us into people of luminous Christianity. People today are much more interested in what religious are inside themselves than in what they appear to be without. The challenge for the religious today does not end in an observance of celibacy, poverty and obedience. Our way of living must be so constructed that it fosters the dignity and the gifts of each individual person. Faith in the unique love of God must become the basis of our togetherness as religious. We must today reflect better the unity in the midst of difference which lies at the heart of the church. We need to become a sign of Christ within the world, a radiation center of the Christian spirit and a place of luminous Christianity. Exercise (Sharing in the group) A. 1. What is it that energizes me in my vocation? 2. What puts me in touch with the divine? 3. What do you find life-giving about being an SVD? 4. Why do you religious life?

B. 1. What image would I use to reflect my spiritual journey? Ans: Fish in the Water, Bird flying in the sky etc. A. Ans: The moments in my life where I felt I have been called by God.  Persons - Mother (Family Prayer, Faith, Truthfulness and Sincerity) Friends (Appreciation)  Eucharist  Work Satisfaction  Prayer – my own way of praying, silence  Moments of being called  Difficulties in the lives of others  God created me and sustains me with great love and care  Reflection on daily activities. Exercise – Project 1. Your group is in-charge of formation 2. On what principles (values) would you structure formation? 3. What experiences would you try to give to the formees? 4. How would you structure the programme? Distinguish the various forms of discipleship and explain the meaning and significance of religious life as a form of discipleship. Religious life can be properly understood only in the context of escathogical proclamation of Jesus and it has an ecclesial and pneumatic origin. Explain.

Discipleship is following of Christ or sequela christi. It is an imitation of the Lord not in a general ascetical sense but in an actual reproduction of the type of life lived by Jesus and proposed by Him to His disciples. It is also an adherence to Jesus and to his service. Earlier in a strict sense disciples were only those people with whom Jesus associated with his life and ministry. But after the post resurrection period the original disciples of Jesus have become the prototype of the church. Thus making all Christians the followers of Jesus. Thus the various forms of Christian living becomes the various forms of following Christ in the church. In the church there are manifold forms of service, which correspond to the manifold gifts of the spirit. What Paul, in many passages in epistles, calls charisma a gift of grace or the gift of the spirit; is not a monopoly held by certain group of people. The monopoly is held by the Holy Spirit alone who is so rich that he who is one pours himself forth in manifold ways his church: “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same spirit distributes them, and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord to whom we minister and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one (1 Cor 12:4-6). The aspect of ‘following’ is for all believers. Thus ‘following’ becomes the only norm of life. It is not the ideal but something which constantly urges us to live – a criteria to live. The demands of discipleship follow us everywhere. Vatican II exhorts all people to follow the footsteps of the Lord. The actual modes of life are simply ways and means to fulfill the challenging requirements of discipleship. Layman is no longer a second class citizen of the church. Baptism joins all Christians in a common vocation as the people of God, the forms, this basic calling takes are of equal value. There can be no privileged class in the church when all are working together to build the city of God. All Christians complement each other, from the Pope to the plumber, from the theologian to the typist. The layman is in the world not by chance but by God’s will. He does not serve God by rejecting created thing but by turning to the world which the creator Himself pronounced ‘good’. The layman’s marriage is no poor substitute for celibacy but a holy participation in God’s own love and creation. Similarly his work in the lay apostolate reflects his rightful share in the priestly and apostolic mission of the church. Living in the secular sphere, he is in a unique portion to draw Christ forth from the world, where He is always present, and make Him visible to all men. Religious life stands at the heart of the church. It is simply one way of being Christian. Membership of the church stands on a man’s personal faith in Jesus Christ and Christianity is a life with Christ for Christ and in Christ. According to Fr. Dillard, religious life is a life project built around faith in Jesus Christ. It is not built around a notion of perfection or even of service. The Gospel does not refer explicitly to religious life. However it does refer to people being gives a special calling within the general call to the kingdom of God. It is true in the case of the apostles. The Gospel makes little reference to the kind or the style of life involved. But it presents a personal challenge, the challenge of Jesus Christ. Religious life is primarily a following of Christ. It is a life of discipleship where the moving power is a personal and an adult faith in Jesus Christ. A religious life is a way of Christian life that seeks fullness, it must then stand squarely in the light (faith) that heads to fullness. So one of the challenges of religious life today is to take the issue of faith in Jesus. Religious life is a following of Christ. Yet, every Christian must follow Christ and in that following there are no degrees of more or less. There is no viable distinction between a closer and a more distant following. The following of Christ must be total for every Christian. Yet we need to bring out a distinction in the way of being a Christian that makes the life a religious. We must show it to be a following of Christ with its own distinct characteristic, but at the same time, avoid giving the impression to others of its being a better way. religious life is one Christian life lived through a different pattern that it by passes the three great roots of human life – the desire to marry, the desire to own and the desire to make one’s own decisions. In that sense it is a way of being Christian that disturbs the roots of life and so it can be called a Radical following of Christ. As much, it becomes a sign within the church and hence religious should be a disturbing presence in the church.

The church lives on Christian values and we Christians are suppose to radiate the values of the Gospel to be society. It is possible if people take them up professionally. It is done by religious. Thus each religious community is meant to be a center from which Gospel values radiate into the society around it. Involvement togetherness, radicality these are the ecclesial values that religious life should radiate. We are called to cry out the Gospel with our lives. The radical following of Christ by renunciation of certain thing has got an unique value. In religious life the unique value of the kingdom is expressed visibly in a concrete life style before the whole church as a humble service rendered to the community. Our renunciation finds in itself no meaning. Hence religious life tends to express visibly the escathological orientation of Christian existence, its attitude of expectation. Religious life originated in the church. The gifts of the spirit are showered on the people for the service of the church. So religious life is a charism of the spirit. The various forms of religious life represent the concrete answers to the concrete needs of the ecclesial community. Thus religious life has got an ecclesial origin. Religious life is as much as it is a concrete form of practicing discipleship is born form an impulse of the spirit under the inspiration of the scriptures as an answer to the needs of the church. Thus religious life has a pneumatic origin too.

MARRIAGE AS A VOCATION. CONSECRATED LOVE. Step 1. Small Group Session : a) Discuss the following cases : 1. Anne, a married lady and a mother of a large family, tells her sister who is a nun: How lucky you are! God give you a beautiful vocation to be a nun! How much I wish God would have called me also! He didn’t! Do you agree with Anne? Give reasons for your answer. Can you comfort her? 2. John is a very holy young man. He says: I want to love God with all my heart, with all my mind and with all my being. I’ll never marry. I’ll become a religious brother. If I marry I’ll have to love my wife and so I’ll never be able to love God with all my heart! Is John right? Wrong? Explain. 3. A good sister was telling the children in catechism class: Many children are called to be priests, brothers and sisters. Others are not called. Those who are not called are free to marry. Can you prove her wrong? How? 4. Tony argued: Marriage is a vocation too. I feel attracted to girls and I want to marry. Why should I bother to find out whether I should join the priesthood or not? All are equally good vocations. All vocations come from God. Is his way of arguing correct or wrong? Explain. 5. Peter said: Love is the greatest of all virtues. I want to love my wife and my children. Only in marriage I’ll be able to love fully, fruitfully and humanly! Marriage is my vocation. I am not made for the priesthood or the religious life, I am made for love! How would you react to Peter’s reasoning? Agree, disagree? Why? b) Discuss the following points : 1. Marriage is a vocation. How? To what extent? For whom is it meant? 2. Is marriage a service or ministry done to the Church? Or is it something else?

3. Are all vocations good? Equally good? Are some vocations better than others? Explain. 4. Is marriage the only way I can make my love satisfying, fruitful and human? Are there other ways? Which? 5. Is it true that if one wants to love God with an undivided heart, one should not marry? Explain. 6. Are marriage and priesthood incompatible vocations? Give reasons for your answers. 7. Can marriage and religious vocation ever go together? Give reasons for your answer. Step 2. General Session. a) Reports from the groups. b) Discussion. Coming to some agreement. c) Summing up: Input by the moderator. 1. Marriage as a vocation: i. Marriage primarily is a call to a vocational style of life, to witness to the love and dedication of Christ for the Church and for the world in a sacramental way. ii. Marriage is a state of consecrated love. In marriage both partners will love each other and their children in a complete, unique, undivided way. iii. Marriage can, in a broad sense, be considered a service done to the Church. It builds the Church and gives her strength and cohesion. Marriage is not, however, a vocation in the sense of some special ministries done to the Church. iv. A married person can serve and minister to the Church in any capacity sometimes even in the ministerial priesthood. 2. Relative value of all vocations: i. People keep comparing the value of different vocations : Is celibacy better than marriage? Is religious life more perfect than secular life? Is it better to become a priest or to become a brother? … All these comparisons miss the point. They are irrelevant. Vocations do not exist in a “vacuum”. ii. There are people with different vocations, not “vocations” in the abstract! Vocations are the different ways people are called to live up to their Christian commitment. Each vocation is unique in as much as it is conditioned by the unique charism of each person, by the unique opportunities offered to him by life, by the unique circumstances he is placed I and by the unique promptings and inspirations of the Spirit given to him. As there are no two persons alike, there are no two vocations alike! For each person his vocation is the best. iii. Vocations, therefore, have a sort of a relative value. A vocation is good for me only in so far as it is the best way I can follow Christ and serve him in the “here and now”. Each one has to discern his “best” vocation, in other words “his own” vocation.

iv. Marriage is good, better and best! … for the one who is called to this specific way of life. 3. Incompatibility of some vocations : i. Religious life and marriage are incompatible vocations. By their very nature one demands celibacy, the other excludes it. ii. Priesthood and marriage are not “essentially” incompatible. At present there is a “juridical” incompatibility. However, priesthood by its very nature does not exclude marriage. iii. Any ministerial vocation of service is compatible with any vocational style of living or a state of life: any person married or religious can minister to the Church in any capacity whatsoever. (Of course, except priestly ministries for women both married and non-married. Should it be so?) 4. Loving God and loving men : i. We hear sometimes that those who want to love God with an undivided heart should not marry… that religious and priests are more free to love God with all their hearts…that love of one’s consort detracts from love of God. Is it so? ii. Not at all! All these sayings are nothing but pious thrash and exaggerations : Otherwise Christ would have not told us to love one another; Christ would have not loved us either…Christ would never have told husband to love their wives and wives their husbands! “True” love for any man or woman will never detract from the love we owe to God, it will rather add to it !... iii. We love God as God, and men as men! We cannot love or relate to God in the way we love and relate to men. The two do not and cannot stand at the same level. The love of God and the love of man are, so to say, analogical. The love of men makes it easier for us to love God; nay, to love men makes it possible for us to love God! We cannot love God unless and until we love men! Any true human love-married love, parental love, children’s love, love of friendship, love for the poor and suffering, etc. – brings us closer to God. iv. In fact, for married people, only the love they have for each other will validate their love for God! God does not consider spouses as rivals or intruders in the love husbands and wives have to have for him! God is not like a “jealous” spouse who cannot stand his partner loving somebody else! God is like a father, a well wishing father who enjoys to see us loving others, i.e. his children our brothers and sisters! Let us not make God to our own “image”!!! v. The more we love men, all men, as Christ did, and in the way he did, the more we shall love God. Furthermore, it is only by loving man that we can reach God! People - men and women, husbands and wives, friends and enemies, poor and well-to do, children and grown ups – are the sacraments of God’s presence among us! It is only by loving them that we are able to love God! 5. Is marriage the only way to make our love satisfying, fruitful and human? i. Love is greater than sex! Love can be expressed in many ways. Love can be expressed sexually in marriage and so married and sexual love will be satisfying, fruitful and human. But marriage and sex is not the only possible way of expressing love in a truly human and satisfying fashion. ii. The sexual way of relating and the sexual way of expressing love is only one of the many possible ways of relating and loving. Human relations as human love transcend, go beyond sex and sex relationships.

iii. God, the exemplar and source of all love, loves and relates not in a sexual way, but in a nonsexual way! God made his love visible in the world in many ways; the sexual love and married love is one of the ways or sacraments of God’s love. By means of it, God’s love has been made visible and expressable! iv. However, love most of the time is expressed in a non-sexual way : e.g. love of friendship, parental love, children’s love for their parents, love of benevolence, brotherly and sisterly love, philanthropic love, etc. All these ways of loving are human, highly satisfying and always fruitful! Love always builds up, creates, produces, … Love, if it is true love, cannot help being fruitful… Step 3. Prayer Session : - That we may appreciate the beauty of the married state. - That all married couples may truly live up to their vocation of dedicated and consecrated love. - That young men, and women may understand the implications of the married state and the meaning of true sexual and married love! - Comment on: Eph. 5/25-33 and pray. - End by some shared and spontaneous prayer.

Why People are Different?
All of us are shaped by our own history. Conception till today we had lots of experiences. These experiences are forgotten but imprints are left on us and our attitudes are formed. Personal Unconsciousness - This makes my personal unconscious (personal, family, caste, economic experiences). The person that we are today can be reduced to attitude. Attitudes are formed by our experiences. Experiences are due to situations we had to face. If my attitudes are positive I look at reality today positively, if my attitudes are negative I become negative (optimist or pessimist). Today our perceptions are according to my past attitudes and my actions are according to my perceptions and these actions result in feelings. My personality is repeated attitudes. My present behaviour is the repeated actions. This is what makes our life history and us different. We see things, reality as it is but according to my coloured perceptions. Collective unconsciousness – attitudes, values handed over by my community. As a Catholic I have my own values (religious, cultural ethnic group) Personal unconsciousness and collective unconsciousness shapes my personality and attitudes. Depending upon my attitudes and perceptions I can be happy in life or sad in my life. My attitudes towards SELLF, OTHERS, WORLD and GOD can be positive or negative. Change or Conversion – If I am adult emotionally I can look at my past life critically and change my attitudes using the powers within me.

Our history has made us what we are and strictly speaking we are not responsible for our actions but we need to remember that our attitudes are acquired. They can be changed. I need not be the victim of my attitudes for I can use the powers within me and change for good. It is not only internal world but also the external world can affect us. My fears of the world and people constrain my freedom. Our total personality is our inner self (innate, inborn self) – image of God (soul). God has created me in His essence. That’s why basically each person is good. But our inner and external world over shadows or goodness and we are seen as we appear now. We need to allow inner self to grow and live by our true self. Then we can affect, influence the life of others. Our positive or good attitudes to God, world, others and self can be very transforming to others. We are like a diamond buried under a garbage heap where diamond remains hidden and can not shine but a diamond remains a diamond always. Conversion or change would mean I remove this garbage and allow the diamond to shine. Our inner self is strong and people with God experience can lead me to transformation. Eg. St. Paul – different way of looking at reality – change of attitude. Conversion 1. Awareness – It is Non-judgmental way of looking into ourselves – Krishnamurthy. Eg. Jesus looked at Peter, Mary Magdalene – they were transformed. Our criticism of others are given in a judgmental and non-loving way. Awareness can come when I experience physical uncomfort. Physical – No sickness but feeling tired, sickly, (psycho-somatic sickness) Emotional – Never laugh, mingle with others, sad, constant conflicts, anger... Spiritual – God becomes a distant reality, lonely, no meaning in life ... Awareness or looking back is frightening. So I may fight or flight. To arrive at a decision or to begin the process of conversion awareness is the most important tool. Awareness need not bring in change. Only a positive decision disregarding pain can bring in change – so constantly expose oneself to the healing God gives – new attitude – new person. With how much passion we see things in our own way. We do not see a reality in itself but in our perspective that makes us different from one another. My way of looking at a stimulus (problem, reality, things, persons, situations etc.) Common problems we face are – Relationships Sexuality Authority Lack of enthusiasm Identity We come into formation with great desire and lots of negative luggage. So we need to work with our self and become more and more free and integrated persons. Our mind has two components – Conscious mind – one tenth and Unconscious mind nine tenth (that’s why one does not know the implications of what I do and why I do) There are behaviours in our life to which I can not find an explanation because we are driven by our urges. Rom. 7/19 – I do the things that I do not want to do.... I do certain things because there are certain attitudes, urges, unredeemed self in me. There is no person who is totally corrupt. We do lot of good things that we do yet all of us are caught up here and there. Study – Self was rated high, companions low. I am not able to see my unredeemed self but others could see. My conscious mind is affected by my unconscious mind. My conscious mind is not able to over power my unconscious. A formee who comes to us with great desire and love of God he is affected

by his unconscious mind. Grace is built on nature. Certain amount of inner freedom is necessary for a good commitment. Our ideal is affected by our reality. My real and ideal come into clash. I am pulled down by my reality. Ideals, decisions are made at conscious level but real is at unconscious level. This creates a dichotomy Maslow’s ladder of needs explains our situation. How can we jump from down to a higher need. Self-transcendence is our highest need. How can I reach it if lower needs for food, love, recognition are not met. We can reach the higher need if lower needs are met or sublimated, integrated. Am I responsible for my actions if I am driven by my unconscious mind? My responsibility begins when I am an adult. As an adult I can understand and edit my attitudes. Our mind is controlled by our needs besides our personal and collective unconscious. Personal and collective unconscious is acquired and particular but needs are innate and universal. The way I meet my needs depends on my unconscious personality. Our needs have no intelligence. They are primordial and primitive. What gives intelligence to my needs is my values and principles. I do what I feel and like and not what is right or most loving. I live my life or meet my needs according to certain values. I can become victim or master of my needs. Our mind is affected or governed by world outside – the expectations of other people. Our actions are based not only on our convictions and principles but also on expectations of others. I can comply or be a rebel (go against the society). But I need to exhibit pastoral prudence in my actions. We can comply, identify or question everything.

COMMUNITY LIFE
301 The Triune God is the origin, the exemplar and the completion of every human community. In baptism we are called to share in the divine life as members of the people of God and disciples of Jesus Christ. Through our vows we enter a community that is caught up in the mission of the Son and the Spirit sent from the Father to the world. This is what draws us into deeper bonds of unity with one another and so enables us to proclaim the message of salvation more effectively. As confreres we cultivate these bonds through prayer, personal relationships and common missionary activities. 301.2 Our communities should provide us with a suitable environment in which we can grow in the missionary vision that has brought us together. 302 The heart of our shared life is the Eucharist. Our oneness in Christ grows particularly through its celebration where we are strengthened by listening to the word of God and where the one bread we break is a communion with the Body of Christ (see 1 Co 10:16-18). While gathered around the table of the Lord we are united in spirit with all our confreres and with those we serve. 303 Sincere brotherly love, more than merely living and working together, will make us truly one. We try to develop personal relationships with one another so that all feel accepted and at home in our community. We show interest in the life and work of each confrere and help and encourage him to bring his life and talents to fuller development. We share each other’s joys, sorrows, hopes and problems. Goodness and kindness should be characteristic of our Society. We strive to live that evangelical ideal of community we preach to others. 303.1 A distinguishing feature of our community life is that confreres from different nations live and work together. This becomes a mutually enriching experience when based on deep respect for one another’s nationality and culture.

303.2 Wherever a community is made up of persons of different languages, the language of the country in which they are living should normal be used, especially in the chapel, refectory and during recreation. 303.6 We bear with each other’s personal weaknesses patiently and with the tensions that result from differences of temperament, age, nationality and culture. We avoid jealousy and aversions, dissensions and all criticism that impairs brotherly love; we refrain from anything that can bring harm to a confrere’s good name. We help each other through fraternal correction (see Mt 18:15). If dissension arises, we quickly seek to be reconciled (see Ep 4:26).

The Philosophy of my Life
God is the one who has created me in his very essence and has breathed his very life into me, not because I merit it in anyway but because of his great love and generosity. He continues to sustain that life which he has given through His Son Jesus. “… I have come that they may have life, and have it in abundance.” (Jn. 10/10) and through very many people – my parents, bothers and sisters, dear ones, friends, companions, superiors and teachers. I do believe that God continues to love me through the presence of these people. So having experienced the divine love in a human way, my mission in life is to live a life, which is meaningful and a life of love and service. I do believe that that is the precise reason why I have chosen to be a religious missionary – to love God and others and to help one another through the grace of the Spirit to realize that fullness of life and live in peace and love always. I do not know how long I will be here but my responsibility is to make use of this God given opportunity to live a good and committed life. I believe that it is worth living a good life of 20 to 30 years rather than living a bad life of 70 to 80 years. I want in my own way to affect the lives of those people with whom I come in contact. I want to share the love I have experienced from the Lord with my friends and all others in an intimate way. So that, many may come to know the love of God and live a holy and happy life here. This kind of approach to life helps me to enjoy my life. It gives me meaning, a sense of direction and purpose to my life. As long as I am in this direction that leads me to Love, who is God himself, I fear nothing. Since the same love and life is in every human person and the world, I approach others and the world with respect, love and reverence. If anyone fails in this regard I will understand and forgive rather than keep anger and seek vengeance and ruin my own peace, life and love relationship. In this context, sin is failure from my part to share God’s love with others and keeping away from other people who are created in the very essence of God or being indifferent to others. I feel when I strive to love all, I will always be living in the presence of God and that would be as St. Paul says, praying continuously and living in communion with God and others. This communion with God and others enriches my life and enables me to live as a fully human and fully alive person. Living so is in fact enjoying heaven here on earth for me.

Questions
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Who is God for me? What is my relationship to him and how this relationship helps me to live my life? How do I understand my relationship with Jesus and how this relationship affects my life? How do I see my relationship with other people in the world including my dear and near ones? What is my relationship to the rest of the creation? How do I understand my call to be a religious missionary priest in the context of above relationships?

7. What is the purpose or mission of my life here on earth? 8. What gives meaning and sense of direction to my life? 9. How do I understand sin and holiness in life? 10. What will happen to me after this life?

NOTICE BOARD JOTTINGS
Introductory Note: We offer you in these notes some thoughts, ideas and hints on vocation in the form of jottings. These jottings may prove useful for the following purposes : - For talks and chats on vocation. - To prepare an instruction on election or choice of vocation during a vocational retreat or camp. - To assist people to go through the process of election and discernment of a vocation. - For notice board pinning. - For handouts on vocation. They are meant for all audiences, specially for those who are faced with the problem of “election”. How to use These Jottings for Notice Board Pinning. Have the matter of these sheets clearly typed in foolscap pages to be displayed on the notice board. How to use These Jottings as Handouts.

Have printed pages of these jottings, or cyclostyle them to be given as handouts. You may distribute them to the audience after a vocational talk.

What is a vocation?
A vocation is a mystery. They call it, In official language : “An attraction for the life.” How did it start? A book, a friend of yours, Some “real good guy” you knew. May be it was that Fifth grade hero worship for the priest, That all boys have. But, yours stayed on. You try to give some reason for it But it is really hard to say just why You made the choice you did. And that’s because God made the choice, Not YOU. It isn’t that he tells you in the blinding vision, as St. Paul He doesn’t even whisper softly to your heart (As we were told when we were very young)Not really, anyway. He takes you as you are, in love with yourself Mostly, and Him very little. He gives you dreams of great accomplishments For yourself, mostly, and Him very little. And it doesn’t matter really; God uses every earthly way: the great romance, escape, A dream, a shock, a hint, almost anything As long as it can be outgrown. There is an adventure in a vocation Not the adventure of a midnight sick-call in the jungle, Or a journey over the mountain trails on horseback. It is the adventure of losing yourself in the will of God Of discovering God’s plan for the future, of the world, Not yours. His plan is never just what you expected. But it’s always new, Always exciting, always a challenge, And it is his. This is the adventure; the leap into the dark, The readiness for anything Anything He wills that you should do, When, where, with whom, Because and in the way, He wants it. That’s a vocation.

YOUR PLACE IN LIFE
(A) THE TASK GOD EXPECTS YOU TO CARRY OUT IN THIS WORLD WILL NOT ALWAYS BE:
- The easiest and most comfortable… - The one you like best… - The one that accords with your feelings… - Or the one that is a perfect answer to your dreams… BUT IT MAY CONCEIVABLY BE: - The hardest and most heroic… - The one you dislike most… - The one that goes against the grain… - The one that dashes to the ground your golden dreams…! AT ANY RATE, IT HAS TO BE: - The one most helpful in discharging your duties to God… - The one most conducive to love, praise and worship God…

- The one that leads you to salvation as nothing else would… - The one that disposes you in the most practical way possible to serve, your neighbour… - The one that orients you toward God’s call to spread the Good News everywhere… - The one that offers you the best chance to build a better world… AND BE SURE THAT YOUR TASK IN LIFE IS: - The one that corresponds to your personal qualities… - The one that responds to God’s inspirations and inner graces… - The one that satisfies the dictates of both your head and heart unclouded by passion or unreason. - The one that likens you most to your Leader, Our Lord Jesus Christ. AND DO NOT HESITATE BUT BE CONFIDENT - That fitted into God’s plan your place in life will always bring you inner peace… - That a task well performed will give you deep satisfaction.. - That anything done conscientiously and with a sense of purpose will generate within you tranquility and happiness. - That the fulfillment of God’s will always brings joy, which may or may not include pleasure but certainly far surpasses it…

(B) THE DREADFUL WORD !
EACH ONE’S PLACE IN LIFE… EACH MAN’S TASK IN THIS WORLD.. THE WILL OF GOD FOR ALL AND EACH. THAT’S OUR VOCATION IN LIFE! VOCATION: - A big word.. - Very much used and misused… - Often misunderstood… - A word that makes some people frown.. - Some fear… some others smile… - Still others sneer… - And a few wake up.. VOCATION: - A call from God to each man to take up his place in life… - An invitation to love God and man… - A summons to follow Christ… - An offer to fulfill oneself in life… A UNIQUE YET VAIRIEGATED CALL IT WAS: - For Jesus to be the saviour of the world… - For Mary to be the mother of Christ… - For Joseph to be the husband of Mary… - For Simon to be Peter the Rock… - For Paul to be the Apostle of the Gentiles… - For Monica to be the mother of St. Augustine…and a holy wife… - For Francis of Assisi to be the troubadour of God… - For Inigo of Loyola to defend the Church with the word of the Spirit… - For Elisabeth to be the saintly Queen of Hungary… - For Dominic Savio to be a holy school boy… - For you .. ??? and for me…???

VOCATION: A CALL, YES : BUT A CALL THAT… - May be answered… - May not be answered… - May be heard.. - May not be heard… - May be followed till the very end.. - May be given up in the course of time.

(C) HOW TO FIND MY PLACE IN LIFE
WHILE CHOOSING OR DISCERNING YOUR PLACE IN LIFE DO NOT MAKE THE MISTAKE OF : - Expecting some kind of a vision of revelation from God… - Looking out for something unusual or extraordinary to happen… - Trying to gain absolute security.. - Asking God for signs.. - Waiting to be told by your director or guide… TRUST IN: - God’s graces and inspirations… - Yourself and your innate capabilities.. - Your feelings and inclinations - Your reasoning and discerning powers.. - The ineffable promptings and sayings of your inner voices.. TAKE INTO ACCOUNT: - Your natural talents and gifts Intelligence, will-power, bent of mind, health.. - The circumstances of your life.. - Your past experiences and the history of your life… - Your prayer and religious experiences.. - Your virtues and vices.. your praiseworthy and ignoble deeds… - Your family situation… - Your character and psychology… your constitutional limitations… - Your social life and human relationships… - Your training, studies and professional aptitudes.. BE ATTUNED TO: - God’s inspirations at this moment… - Your feelings here-and-now.. - The graph of your moods during the past year or years.. i.e. the drift of your mind and heart on vital issues like marriage, celibacy, social commitment, spiritual life.. - The motives that may be prompting you.. - Your resentments, fears, frustrations, desire to compensate for past failures, escapisms, unfulfilled longings… AND ABOVE ALL BE - Generous with God.. - Willing to do or surrender anything whatsoever that God may demand of you. - Detached from selfish and worldly considerations.

(D) FOUR STEPS TO INDENTIFY MY PLACE IN LIFE
FIRST STEP : A THOROUGH PROCESS OF ELECTION : 1. Ask God for light to discern his will and for strength to carry it out.

2. Write down the “pros” and “cons” i.e. those advantages and disadvantages you see for choosing a particular job, task, vocation, or profession in life… (Note : the “pros” and “cons” should not be in terms of financial, material or worldly gains or considerations, but in terms of service, love of God, etc. as Christ would see them) 3. Once you have listed the “pros” and “cons”, balance one list against the other. See to which side the scales are tilting. 4. Then consider dispassionately what would you advise your best friend to do, should he come to you for your advice with the same balance-sheet as you have just drawn up… 5. Imagine for a moment that you are about to die. What would then be your choice? 6. Go to the chapel or to a quiet place and pray to Jesus over your choice. Then make up your mind about it, tentatively at this step, to be checked later on at steps two and three. SECOND STEP : AN HONEST PROCESS OF DISCERNMENT. For this : 1. Ask God again for light to discern his will for you and for strength to carry it out. 2. Offer God the election you have made at step one. Be attuned to your feelings. How do you feel? Happy? Sad? Sure? Uncertain? Peaceful? Anxious? Jot down your feeling and biases. 3. Imagine you have chosen something else now. How do you feel and react? Jot down your feelings and biases. 4. During the last few weeks or months what have your feeling and inclinations been about the very thing you have elected? Jot down. How? Why? 5. Compare feeling with feeling bias with bias (i.e. nos 2,3 and 4) From such comparing can you intuit or understand something about your election, or about yourself? Write it down. 6. Next, in all sincerity keep praying to God. Open yourself to him in readiness for anything he may wish you to do. What do you feel he wants you to do? What’s your election now? 7. If you can come to any conclusion or to any final choice, offer it to the Lord in a spirit of loving self-surrender to his will. Is there any change you feel should be made in your previous choice? Jot it down. THIRD STEP: CHECK WITH A SPIRITUAL GUIDE OR DIRECTOR: 1. Go to a good director and show him all you have written in steps one and two. Tell him all you have felt. Explain to him all your doubts and anxieties. 2. Discuss all the matter with him. Enter into a free and frank dialogue and exchange of views. Try to understand all he tells you. 3. With the help and guidance you get from him assess the soundness of your choice. FOURTH STEP: ALONE WITH GOD 1. Alone, all by yourself, pray to God...listen to him...trust him… 2. Be inwardly disposed to receive his word...be indifferent…be prepared for anything. 3. Make your final decision and choice. 4. Pray over it. Offer it to God.

LISTED BELOW YOU WILL FIND A LONG SERIES OF REASONS WHY MANY PEOPLE WANT TO JOIN THE RELIGIOUS LIFE OR THE PRIESTHOOD.
TICK OFF (RIGHT MARK) ONLY THOSE THAT REALLY MOVE YOU TOWARDS THIS TYPE OF LIFE. (LEAVE OUT THE REST, HOWEVER GOOD, OR TRUE THEY MAY BE.) 1( ) 2( ) 3( ) 4( ) 5( ) 6( ) 7( ) 8( ) 9( ) 10( 11( 12( 13( 14( 15( 16( 17( 18( 19( 20( 21( 22( 23( 24( 25( 26( 27( 28( 29( 30( 31( 32( 33( 34( 35( 36( 37( 38( 39( 40( 41( 42( 43( 44( 45( I want to save souls I feel that the pleasures of the world are empty and dangerous It is not worth working for men I want to make reparation for the sins of others I want to be pure If I do not follow my vocation God may punish me. To have a chance for higher education I want to follow Christ more closely I cannot express my love for Christ in a better way. ) I can do a lot of good for others ) I want to join because my friend or my friends have also joined ) I do not feel attracted towards marriage ) I like a quiet and retired life ) I want to make sure of my salvation ) Because it is my parents’ (mother / father) wish ) I cab help the poor and afflicted ) I want to go to the missions ) I cannot mix easily in society ) I do not like to study ) I want to lead a holy life ) I can help the young to be good men ) I do not want/I cannot stay at home any longer ) I want to do something great, something heroic ) I am dreaming of it from my childhood ) I do not know why. But I want it ) I do not think that I am fit for any other job ) I want to lead a life of sacrifice like Christ ) I have been disappointed in love ) I would like to pray more ) Nothing of the world can satisfy me ) I like to join to show others that I can become a priest ) I think that this type of life is easy and comfortable ) I would like to make up for the sins of my past life ) I would like to be like someone whom I admire ) My talents and qualities will be put to better use ) I would like to be respected as a priest or religious ) I want to be a saint. To be closer to God ) My family would be pleased if I would join ) I cannot find easily any suitable job ) To better my prospects ) I am very poor at home ) I cannot excel in any other career ) I can instruct the ignorant ) I want security in life ) I feel irresistibly attracted towards it.

ANY OTHER REASONS OF YOUR OWN WHICH IS NOT LISTED ABOVE 1 2 3 4 5

1Is there real consistency between the reasons/ motives stated in part I, for your joining the Priesthood or Religious life and your day to day pattern of behaviour? You stated that you wanted to join to serve your neighbour. Well, check: Do you serve your people at home? You stated that you wanted to pray more. How much do you pray in ordinary circumstances? 2Are the reasons mentioned by you the fruit of your personal experience? Are they the fruit of your ordinary life’s living, thinking ad feeling? Explain and examine. 3How much of your desire to join and how many of the reasons given for joining are just drilled into you, taught to you, passed on to you? Examine these points very carefully. 4Do you wish to join the Priesthood or the Religious Life because you really want to, or just because you have to, or because you are expected to? *********************************************************** 5Go over the reasons stated by you in Part I and choose those you feel most significant to you. Then relax and be still. Now slowly and with great deliberation keep repeating the stated reasons several times to yourself, one by one. 6As you keep repeating the stated reasons try to be very aware of your true feeling: Does it sound real? Am I genuine? Is it me speaking? What do I feel just now, while I am repeating this reason to myself? Am I convinced? *********************************************************** 7Go over the reasons stated by you in Part I and take one at a time and follow this method: Consider first: What the statement seems to mean. Namely – the obvious, direct and conscious meaning or meanings…. Consider secondly: What the statement could mean. Namely, possible lurking, hidden, indirect, concealed, veiled meanings and reasons. E.g.: I want a prayerful and recollected life, may mean: I want to run away from struggle I like inactivity I am tired of working at home I am afraid of life. Make a list of things: You are really tired of Things you are afraid of Things you hate at home Things you feel like running away from Things you cannot bear anymore Things you secretly long for but feel shy to express Difficulties and problems you have to face but which you do not know how to solve. Have any of the above listed items influenced you to desire to join the Priesthood or Religious life? Examine yourself! Be Honest! Be Fearless! Compare all your findings with the history of your vocation Draw your conclusions and write your final reflections Check your reflections and findings and get feed back.

Discuss the following cases and write down the answers: 1. John wants to become a doctor. When asked why he has chosen this profession he tells us that he is very good at studies, that he will easily secure a 75% in his public exams. Besides medicine is a very lucrative profession. Is his the right way to find out his vocation? 2. Mary says that she wants to join the convent. When she is asked why, she says that her parents want it. Besides, at home they are poor and they cannot afford giving her a dowry. What do you say about her choice of vocation? 3. Joseph says that he want to carry on the family business. When asked why, he replies: It’s easy for me. I will have no worries. The business is prosperous, it is well established. The future is rosy. What would you tell Joseph about his vocation? 4. Andrew has decided to join the seminary. He says that for a long time he felt inclined to do so. He likes it. Is his choice correct? 5. James has joined a Technical School. When asked why he has chosen this “vocation” he says: What else could I do? I could not secure admission anywhere else. Beggars are not choosers! What to you think about James “vocation”? 6. Rose wants to be a singer. She says she feels called to this type of life. When she is asked why, she tells us that she likes popularity, to be famous, to get the applause of the crowds. Was hers a good criterion to choose her vocation. *******************************************************

1. James has been a seminarian for several years. He says that he is certain that God calls him to be a priest. His bishop, however, tells him that he has no vocation and that he should leave the seminary. Has James a vocation? Who calls him to the priesthood? God or the Bishop? 2. Andrew, a young priest says that he joined the priesthood because his parents told him to do so. Now he is a priest ! Who called him? Has he a vocation at all? Should he leave the priesthood? 3. Luke comes to his parish priest for advice. He asks him : Tell me father, do I have a vocation to become a priest? If you think I have it I’ll join the seminary. The parish priest said : I think you have it. And so Luke joined the seminary. Who called him? Who gave him a vocation? 4. Barthol joined the seminary because he could not secure a job anywhere. Eventually, he was ordained a priest; and now he is a very good priest. Where did his vocation come from? Who called him? ********************************************************** 1. Peter, a doctor, says: I am not a priest, I am a doctor. I am not called to preach the Gospel. Do not bother me. Let me look after patients… Let the priests do their job, I’ll do mine. Do you agree with his way of thinking? What would you tell him? 2. Mrs. Chacko says: I am not expected to preach. My preaching has to be done at home, my family is my audience. It’s none of my business to proclaim the Gospel. What do you think of her reasoning? Right? Wrong? Partially right? 3. Sr. Philomena is teaching Maths in a Higher Secondary School. She is fully busy teaching her subject. She says, God doesn’t want me to preach the Gospel but just teach Maths. By the fact that my superiors have given me this assignment the will of God is very clear to me. Do you think she is right? What would you tell her?

4. Prakash is a catechist. He is preaching the Gospel and instructs the catechumens. He says: This is my job. I am paid for it. If someone gives me a better pay, I’ll change my job. How do you feel about his attitude? Is he really proclaiming Christ? 5. Fr. John is the Parish Priest and the Principal of the School. He says I am so busy with all these works that I have no time to preach much less to do missionary work. I do enough for God. Do you agree with his way of looking at things? What to do in such situation?

Discuss the following and try to come to some agreement. What is the function or the type of service a priest is called to render in the Church? i. Parish administrator. ii. Church “pujari”, i.e. perform worship. iii. Community or village leader. iv. Preacher of the Gospel. v. Administering the Sacraments. vi. Pastoral guidance. vii. Man of God, sort of a “Guru”. viii. Social worker. ix. Helping the poor by means of charities. x. Promotion of human rights. xi. School teacher. xii. Catechist. xiii. Theological scholar. xiv. Principal or correspondent of a school. xv. Fund raising. xvi. Youth moderator. Etc. - Can you summarize the functions of a priest in a few words? - Can all the above descriptions be reconciled with the strictly “priestly” ministry? - How would you describe the function of a priest within the Christian community? - Why are our priests expected to do so many jobs? Should they?

Discuss the following cases and write down the answers: 1. Fr. Thomas, a newly ordained priest is told by his parish priest to teach history and geography in Std VII. He refuses under the pretext that he did not join the priesthood to teach secular subjects. Is he right or wrong? Should he obey or not? 2. Fr. Paul began doing social work in the slums of the parish. The P.P. tells him to stop, because this type of work is not supposed to be done by the priests; a priest is not ordained to be a social worker. Is the P.P. right or wrong? Whose duty is it to do social work? Is it the function of the priest to do social work? 3. Andrew the new Bishop, removes 20 priests from the post of Principal in his Diocesan Schools and replaces them by lay people. He says: I do not expect my priests to be principals, I want them to be “priests” ! Is it a wise move? Is the Bishop right? Do you agree with him? 4. Peter, a new priest, comes to work in a parish. He tells his Parish Priest: I am ready for preaching, saying Mass and administering the sacraments. Beyond this, do not give any other work. I am a “priest”. What do you think of his stand? Can you find out why there is so much confusion as regards the roles a priest has to play in function of his vocation? What can be done? What would you do?