Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Vocation & Discernment

After reading the article, “Do You Have a Vocation?” by Russel Shaw, answer each of the following questions. To adequately answer most questions will require that you write a paragraph of five to seven complete sentences.

  1. What question did the vocations director always ask at the conclusion of his talks with high school students? Why did he always receive the same response every time?
  1. The author writes: “The idea of personal vocation is in the air, but it's vocation as a calling to the priesthood or religious life that still really counts. That is a mistake.” Explain how the bishops of Vatican II tried to prevent this mistaken mentality from arising.
  1. What has the percentage of decline been for priestly vocations in the last forty years? Seminarians? Nuns & Sisters? What do you think the various factors are that could have contributed to these declining numbers? Which factor do you suspect is most responsible for this decline and why?
  1. Despite these declining percentages, the author maintains that the Church is not suffering from a shortage of vocations. What does he claim the real shortage is facing the Church?
  1. Briefly summarize what the three different meanings of vocation are in the religious sense.
  1. How does shifting focus from vocation as an abstract, one size-fits all concept to the idea of personal vocation mutually benefit both the Church and the individual? (Note, this is a critical thinking question. You will not “find” the answer in the text.)
  1. Pope John Paul II points out that vocational discernment is a gradual process rather than an abrupt one. Do you find that to be reassuring or disheartening? Why?
  1. What is the difference between planning or organizing one’s life on the one hand and discerning one’s vocation on the other?
  1. What is the paradox of saying that our lives will be happier if we discern what God wants for us than if we simply focus on what we want for ourselves?

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