“Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Luke 5:4
To talk about vocation ministry nowadays is not easy, however, I will try to do it. This writing of mine wants to be a reflection in a loud voice that I wish to share on the reality that raises many questions in me.
“Put out into deep …” resounds in my heart as a sign of hope, there, where it seems that there is nothing. The apostles had spent the whole night trying to catch fish, but then they caught nothing even though they are good masters on this aspect. I imagine, it was not so early when Jesus told them to put out into deep water since they were already washing the nets. After Jesus sat in the boat to teach, time surely had passed … His teaching had finished, turning to Peter, he said: “Put out into the deep …” and Simon answered rightly that they had worked all night and had caught nothing.
I do not know if with the same mastery of these fishermen that we also have tried to “catch”, to work, to organize meetings and vocation retreats, to accompany the youth. We have done, we do, but it seems that we do not draw out anything, that there are no answers, and here my anxiety arises; I ask myself, and I share it, not as a certainty, nor as a judgment, but so that together we can discern and meet journeys.
The questions are: Is it the young people who have changed so much or us, whom it’s hard to be flexible before this new situation? Is there something in us, in our communities that no longer attracts or gives enthusiasm? Have the young people moved away or it’s us who closed access to our communities? That sometimes we do not do simply by closing the doors, but with our ways that hinder from those who approach us.
The millennials, today are children of this time, of this age, with its reality, its history, they are born in this digital, technological and virtual culture. They have in many cases a vulnerable, fragmented, absent families, they are bombarded with a thousand of information, but they also have dreams, capabilities … only that they ask to be listened, welcomed, but this requires more patience and time on our part.
Pope Francis in the Document Christus vivit, emphasizes that listening must have three sensibility or attentions: to the person, a sensibility that discerns and listening to the impulses, towards where the other wants to go. (see CV 291-296)
Sometimes I have the impression that we want young people to change immediately, that they live and think like us, but life goes on another part, in fact, we should be the ones to take the first step and try to enter their world, to love them and understand their reality.
On the other hand, vocation ministry should be a serious commitment not only for those who personally carry out this task but for each one of us, in our communities, with prayer, witness and influence. We are all carrying in hearts the memory of our first personal encounter with Jesus, the person or situation that made us fall in love with him and the desire that was born there to follow him in religious life, in our Congregation.
We remember this moment, faces, words, situations and, as Luke says in the Gospel, we hear the words of Jesus: “Go and do the same yourself”. We can be this face, word, an attitude that leads a young man to say: “This life is worth, it is beautiful to follow the Lord!”
I conclude with the second part of the initial text, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command, I will lower the nets.”
It is within us to be able to say we have already done everything and to give up, or hopefully say with Simone, in Your Name I will cast the nets. We have inherited a Congregation with a marvelous Charism and we want others to enjoy this richness, for this, we must trustfully cast the nets so that the merciful love of the Father may reach to so many brothers and the Incarnate Word may be known and loved.
We must desire and hope for descendants, we are women and therefore called to fertility, we cannot but hope this for our religious Family.
Hna Claudia Castellano