Originally posted on Rorate Caeli.
Family is the vocation that God wrote in the nature of man and woman, but there is another vocation, complementary to that of matrimony: the calling to celibacy and to virginity for the Kingdom of Heaven. It is the vocation that Jesus himself lived. How to recognize it? How to follow it?…I answer you with two essential elements on how to recognize this vocation to the priesthood or to consecrated life: praying and walking in the Church. These two things go together, they are intertwined. At the source of every vocation to the consecrated life there always is a strong experience of God, an experience that is not forgotten, that is remembered all through life! It is the one that Francis had. And we cannot estimate or program it. God always surprises us! It is God who calls; but it is important to establish a daily relationship with Him, to listen to him in silence before the Tabernacle and in the intimacy of our own selves, to talk to him, to stay close to the Sacraments. Having this familiar relationship with the Lord is as it were to have open the window of our life, so that He may make his voice heard, what he wants from us.…I want to say one thing to you strongly, especially today: virginity for the Kingdom of God is not a “no”, it is a “yes”! True, it includes renunciation to a marital bond and to one’s own family, but at its foundation there is the “yes”, as a response to the total “yes” of Christ for us, and this “yes” makes [us] fertile.
Pope FrancisOctober 4, 2013
Can I just add my own note here? I am coming to the end of the diary of St Therese of Lisieux (The Story of a Soul). Her parents had nine children: four died prematurely and the five that followed were all girls. They all became nuns. All five of them (and four of them were Carmelites).
How many of us are ignoring our vocation to give ourselves fully to God either as priests or religious? I find that, thanks be to God, quite a lot of priests encourage young men to consider the priesthood (or religious life) and yet, how many girls are encouraged to become nuns? A life of prayer is what this world needs! Think about it, ladies.