Lord, Teach Us to Pray
“’Jesus never ceases to call people to follow him and to proclaim the Kingdom’ (C. 52). We are convinced that Christ always provides the Church with the ministers that are necessary. It is up to us to discover effective ways of presenting our Oblate vocation to people today.” General Norms for Oblate Formation No. 78
It’s been two years since I was appointed the Vocation Director for our Province. I embraced this hesitantly considering the reality that OMI Lacombe Canada (not counting our Kenyan Missions) haven’t had an ordination to the priesthood, nor perpetual vows in quite a few years, and with no one currently in formation. There was a choice that we, as an Oblate Province, had to make: to give into despair and prepare for the Province’s “funeral”, or to embrace hope against hope that God will provide.
Amidst the COVID19 pandemic our Vocation Team took many initiatives to create a vocation culture amongst ourselves as a Mazenodian family and amongst the people we serve. Weekly vocation reflections have focused on the aspects of vocation inspired by the Sunday readings. The conversations in the Vocations Café expanded our understanding of God’s call in many stages and circumstances of life. “We must lose no opportunity to let people see how urgent are the needs of the Church and the world and come to know the way in which our Congregation responds to those needs.” (OMI Const. 52) Provincial and district gatherings gave us an opportunity to remind ourselves about the responsibility we have regarding Oblate Vocations. “The apostolate of vocations concerns all Oblates individually and as a group.” (OMI Rule 53a)
And despite all efforts, we still have no candidates to enter the formation process…
The Gospel this weekend reminds us about the primary way of “promoting” Oblate vocations: prayer! “We will also pray and have others pray that the Lord send labourers into his harvest.” (OMI Const. 52) Even though we set apart a time in May to pray the Oblate Novena for Vocations; the Gospel calls us for more; to continually ask, search and knock. “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Luke 11:9-10)
So echoing disciples request from the Gospel, I say, “Lord, teach us to pray!” Teach us to ask in serenity and hope, wholeheartedly believing in God’s call to the Oblate charism. Teach us to search, to recognize the work of the Spirit in young people we accompany in our ministry. Teach us to knock, to courageously ask the question, “Have you ever consider becoming a missionary priest or brother?” Lord, teach us to pray!
Loving God, You called St. Eugene
to send forth missionaries to proclaim
and live the Gospel among the poor.
Increase our love, we pray, for those
who are most abandoned. Extend your
loving call to many young people in our
community and grant them the desire
to give of themselves, their lives and
talents to the service of Jesus Christ and the Church.
May our young people answer your call as Missionary Oblates
of Mary Immaculate to serve those who are in need.
This we ask through Christ our Lord.
By Jarek Pachocki, OMI
OMI Lacombe Canada – Vocation Director
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