“In the hidden recesses of the human heart the grace of a vocation takes the form of a dialogue. It is a dialogue between Christ and an individual, in which a personal invitation is given. Christ calls the person by name and says: “Come, follow me.” This call, this mysterious inner voice of Christ, is heard most clearly in silence and prayer. Its acceptance is an act of faith.” -Bl. Pope John Paul the Great
Since we are used to responding to the phone ringing or text-pinging or the microwave beeping, we often assume that, if God’s calling us, we’ll hear something. When we’re not “hit upside the head”, like the Southern expression goes, we assume God’s not interested in contacting us.
Wrong. God is always calling us to union. All of us. Whether He is chooses to accomplish that union with each of us through a celibate consecrated life or through a married consecrated life, He desires each person that He has created and redeemed. But, as Blessed John Paul tells us: “This call, this mysterious inner voice of Christ, is heard most clearly in silence and prayer.” That means we have to shut up and shut down all of our other modes of communication in order to hear God speaking in the “hidden recesses of our heart.”
Like recognizing anyone else’s voice, the more often we speak with God, the easier it is to know who it is we’re speaking with. Often, in speaking with young people, I’m struck by their assumption that God couldn’t be interested in them because they don’t ever remember interacting with Him. When I ask how often they pray, they may say, “Well, I say grace before meals” or ” I pray before a test at school.”
Sad to say, many (most?) young people in this country are being raised as practical atheists. That is, God may be out there and He may be interested in us but, generally speaking, we don’t bother Him and He doesn’t bother us.
In this Year of Faith, it is up to adults to step up and speak up to young people in our spheres of influence and ask them about their prayer lives, about their relationships with God. Adults must also model the joy that a life committed to God brings with it. The current sad state of affairs in the West is the assumption that to question anything that young people are doing is to “judge” them or show that they’re not trusted or, worst of all, to be labeled old-fashioned ourselves. In doing this, we abdicate our responsibility to lead others to hear Christ’s call in their lives and that’s a sin.