25 Jul Living one’s own vocation in a context of uncertainty
The cultural changes and technological progress made in recent decades have indeed opened up new perspectives and possibilities, but they have also reinforced a widespread feeling of uncertainty regarding the future of our societies. While many of the friars grew up in a world that was still fundamentally predictable (or at least where risks could be estimated), those who joined in the last two decades have always had to deal with an overabundance of options within societies with few fixed points of reference. Living out their vocation in a context that is characterized by uncertainty brings them face to face with new challenges: “In some parts of the world, we are living in a “culture of indecision”, which considers lifelong choices impossible, if not meaningless. In a world where opportunities and options increase exponentially, reacting with choices that are always reversible becomes spontaneous, even if this implies a constant mortification of our wishes.”The tendency towards “decisional paralysis”, therefore, not only affects young people but also affects adults who no longer know how to communicate the beauty of life-long fidelity. (F&P Document, p. 7)
Reflecting and sharing on CRISIS as an opportunity for making a second vocational choice.
A friar who is dealing with a crisis of vocation, and who lives an environment where there is poor communication, will hardly be able to find the courage to open himself to the friars of his fraternity and entrust himself and his difficult situation to them.
One way of overcoming these shortcomings could be for Ongoing Formation programmes to include sessions on communication and sharing on themes closer to the real-life situations of the friars. The friars could be invited to share on themes such as: how can I respond to the difficulties in my current fraternity, while also acknowledging the riches that I can see there too? How could we improve the quality of communication and deepen relationships in the community? What are the reasons for some friars being on the margins of the community? What kind of dialogue do we try to maintain with them?
Presentation[s] could be made on the theme of vocational crisis and the inevitability of a “second decision” as part of the vocational journey of each of the friars.
The aim would be, on the one hand, to normalize the fact of spiritual and vocational crisis, while on the other hand, communicating a more positive image of staying (rather than escaping) during the time of crisis… A crisis should make us not just vigilant, but above all attentive to the signs of new life within us and around us. Obviously, in this context it should also be remembered that a crisis is usually not overcome on one’s own. Very often, emerging from anguish and loneliness and opening up to another is already the first step in breaking out of the crisis. It would therefore seem necessary to raise awareness among the friars about the importance of seeking help in good time — from a confrere, a spiritual director, or someone with professional qualifications (psychological and/or medical) as necessary. (F&P Document, pp. 51 & 52)