When, during Advent, we beg Heaven to “rain down the Just”, to send the Savior, let us understand these words of Sacred Scripture and of the Liturgy. Of course, Our Lord has already come 2017 years ago. So, what are we asking? These words also mean that we are storming Heaven for vocations, for priests, brothers and nuns. They are the instruments of the Savior: the priests sacramentally give us the Savior, the brothers and the sisters help us to know Him and prepare us to receive Him.
There is an article written in America in the fifties for a periodical destined for priests. It was about a survey among 2,000 students in eight minor seminaries (age 13-18). They were given a questionnaire about their vocation to the priesthood. It is very interesting to study the reasons these young men gave for their entrance in the seminary: “I wanted to say Mass”: 1326 out of 2000 gave this as their main attraction. “I wanted to help others” came in on a close second with 1306 checks. “I like the life of the priest” got 1186 checks. “I wanted to be like a certain priest” was fourth with 828 checks.
One question was about the influence received. 669 young men said that their mothers influenced them very much in making the choice to go to the seminary. Only 407 stated having not been influenced at all by them. The rest admitted various degrees of influence. It means therefore that in 1593 cases out of 2000, the mother was one of the determining factors in the shaping of vocations. Mothers need to receive spiritual direction on how to be good mothers. A truly Catholic mother with a strong interior life has more chance to receive the grace of vocations in her family than a worldly one.
I think that these data point out in what direction our efforts should bear. If we could give young men an attraction towards the priesthood, this hopefully would lead them to ponder on a possible vocation, and then to receive the grace moving them to make the final decision to give themselves to God.
Pope Pius XI said that “the first and most natural garden” where vocations should blossom is the family. He even adds that: “Exceptions to the rule are rare and do nothing but confirm the rule itself”. This is why the same pope was imploring priests to use every means, by words and writings, to instruct parents about their obligations. Good books on the family should be put in the hands of parents (see our bookstores for these!). The “Talks to Parents” by the Dominican sisters which we have been printing for many weeks on p. 4 of this Bulletin are extremely wise and helpful to prepare the ground to receive the seed and produce 30, 60, 100 times.
When the spirit of sacrifice reigns in a family, when the parents show a great love for the Holy Mass, souls are more generous and therefore more disposed to receive the divine calling.
Yes, during Advent and at the foot of the crib during Christmas, let us beg for vocations, that many of our youth will hear and answer the call.
Rorate coeli desuper et nubes pluant Justum!