The choices of a lifetime
CHARISMS FOR A NEW CENTURY
THERE'S A LOT OF TALK about the vocation crisis. What’s clear is that we experienced a historically abnormal swelling of numbers of priests and religious in the mid-20th century. Rectories were stacked with priests delegated responsibilities according to seniority and favor. Convents anticipated enough recruits to fill dozens of bedrooms and to staff local schools from the art department to the biology lab.
Then the world underwent a sea change. The tide seemed to go out on professional religious vocations. Some blamed Vatican Council II, which destabilized the “pray, pay, and obey” lay culture responsible for fostering large families and encouraging heroic self-giving. Others saw the villain as a newly promiscuous, materialistic society that viewed “sacrifice” as a dirty word.
While both influences played a role, a third factor might be suggested that’s at least as vital as the other two: charism. Paul used this Greek term to describe the free gift of the Holy Spirit given to build up the church. Paul outlined charisms for mission, prophecy, wisdom, and service. These surfaced variously in apostles, leaders, teachers, and healers.
Those who speak of church vocations in crisis lament the loss of those bulging rectories and convents down the street. But consider: Does the Spirit send charisms for the sake of the church that is or the church that was? “Behold, I am doing something new,” the Divine voice declares in prophecy. The question to ask is: What are the needs of the church in this generation? What gifts, or charisms, sent by the Spirit address these needs?
reprinted with permission from TrueQuest Communications
Cullings from VISION Vocation Network
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