A vocation is truly a mystery, one of these truths we cannot fully understand. Why does the Almighty want to be so dependent on us to save other souls? Why does He choose this one and not that one, “dividing to every one according as He will”?
In the Gospel, it is interesting to notice Our Lord asking help for all kinds of things. For instance, passing through Jericho “Jesus, standing still, commanded (the blind man) to be called” (Mk 10:49); at the tomb of Lazarus, He asked the bystanders to “take away the stone!” (Jn 11:32); on Palm Sunday He asked the Apostles to “loose them (the ass and her colt) and bring them to Me” (Mt 21:2). He definitely could have done all these things alone… No, He wanted others to help Him.
There is also the manner in which He calls souls to His service. We see that already in the way He Himself called the Apostles: through John the Baptist (John and Andrew), one brother (Andrew) calling his other brother (Andrew calling Peter), directly (Phillip), a friend calling his friend (Philip calling Nathanael)… Vocation statistics show that the Holy Mass and Holy Communion play the first role in the springing of a vocation, then the example of a truly spiritual person, an old priest, a good nun… Often it will be through a silent reading (St Ignatius), hearing a sermon (St Anthony Abbot), a pilgrimage… Many decided to give all to God following a severe sickness, or a near-death accident, or surviving a war… Then, you have, as St Ignatius recommends, the rational analysis, the pros and the cons, what is the best life for me, or looking at my life from my death bed: what kind of life would I have liked to have lived…
The harvest is indeed very great and the workers so few. Listen to a world famous recruiter of vocations, his words are so true even today:
“Many, many people hereabouts are not becoming Christians for one reason only: there is nobody to make them Christians. Again and again I have thought of going round the universities of Europe, especially Paris, and everywhere crying out like a madman, riveting the attention of those with more learning than charity: ‘What a tragedy: how many souls are being shut out of heaven and falling into hell, thanks to you!’ I wish they would work as hard at this as they do at their books, and so settle their account with God for their learning and the talents entrusted to them.
“This thought would certainly stir most of them to meditate on spiritual realities, to listen actively to what God is saying to them. They would forget their own desires, their human affairs, and give themselves over entirely to God’s will and his choice. They would cry out with all their heart: Lord, I am here! What do you want me to do? Send me anywhere you like – even to India.” (St Francis Xavier)
Mitte, Domine, operarios in messem tuam!
Send, Lord, laborers in Thy harvest!