Vocational Letters – May 2017

In the industrialised countries where technology and information are sovereign, there appears to be a great lack of vocations. It is the smoke which hinders our ability to look beyond our virtual lives. We are all called by God to respond to that mission which He has entrusted to us. This is a world in which many people lives are impacted by violence, homelessness, without rights, where many suffer persecution for being a Christian. (MS, 11)

adao ChavesMany young people like me sense a desire for a vocation, but there are times we don’t have the necessary courage to say yes to God. How do I confront my doubts and take the first steps in my vocation? How do I say yes to God?, How do I leave everything to follow God? These questions and many more, I’ve raised before taking the first steps in my missionary vocation. But the answer that God gives is very simple. “Don’t be afraid. When you go and reach out to a brother and sister, you will find the love of God. We are missionaries on the move and we seek to be people with the joy of evangelizing and embracing one another.

The Word of God shows us that we have to “going forth.” Abraham accepted the call to move towards a new land (Gen 12:1-3). Moses heard the call: “See, I send you,” (3.10). Jeremiah heard: “To whom I send you, you shall go” (1.7). In these Scripture passages, God wants to show us a life plan, but the smoky haze can be so great that we’re unable to recognize God speaking. God constantly provokes us in different ways, through people we encounter on a daily basis, in the reading of the Word of God, in prayer and especially before the Blessed Sacrament. We are never left indifferent when we experience one of the following ways in which God approaches us. God is like a flame that’s always there, even if you don’t see it because of the smoke, or in the difficulties that arise in our lives. God’s spirit burns within us and strengthens our soul.

Pope Francis urges us not to be ashamed of our weaknesses, weariness and sins through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. God will surprise us with forgiveness and peace. We should not be afraid to say “Yes.” We should respond generously with complete enthusiasm in our heart. We shouldn’t stop to anesthetize our soul, but aim for this beautiful love, which requires a “No” to pride, drugs, narcissism and personal comfort.

Finally, I would like to show a simple example of the call and presence of God. In the stained glass windows of the Saints in the Cathedrals, where the sun light passes through the image of the Saint, thus illuminating the interior of the Cathedral, we have to be able to permit the light of God to shine in our hearts and reflect that same light to those who are in darkness.

ADÂO CHAVES, CMF Portugal