|Credit to: St. Joseph Providence|
What had begun all this was her last questions: "Do you think the vocations crisis is the result of fewer men and women being open to God's call to religious life, or the result of fewer worldly payoffs weeding out those who aren't serious? In general, do you think that there is a smaller percentage of serious believers in today's Church than there were in other eras?"
Quite frankly it is a very difficult question to answer, but I think by my experience in what little time since my conversion I feel I am not the right one to answer, but I do wish to response with my thoughts. So, I ask those to forgive me if I make no sense. Thank you in advance.
First, I have seen in the recent years a growth in priestly and religious vocations since I decided to listen to God and come home, I think for me it just was never exposed until then.Because it is not exposed to us who were once in the secular world only thought there was a decease, and that there were not any serious believers, but a minority. If you step away from the secular realm you can see that there is more than what you thought was there.
I will say that Jennifer has a point that there isn't a mass amount discerning in those two vocations and that is due to there are no worldly payoffs; really in my mind the secular world and sometimes even parents (think about how many of them wish to have their children with them to the hips and with how few children are being born, but I digress) has placed ideas in those who hear the call but don't answer because they are told otherwise. Are they bad Catholics? No. Are they not serious enough? No. But, would we like them to answer that call and do what in the end would be better for them? Yes.
There are few examples in my experience where I know this is the case. Take for example the Dominican Order, especially the Providence of Saint Joseph, just in the past two years there has been an increase in discernment into the Order. Let alone in 2009-2010 there were TWENTY-TWO men who discerned into the Order. Of them I believe 17 remain, that is double of what the Order is use to receiving in a yearly basis. It was not just the men who saw increase, but the women, too. Both religious communities, Dominican Sisters of Saint Cecilia and Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist had in 2009-2010 at least 20-22 women discern to become religious.
But, I have seen a downside to this, while those two communities are strong in apostolic, there is another aspect to the Dominican Order and that is Prayer. If anyone doesn't know Saint Dominic and the founding of the Dominican Order, Saint Dominic began with women, founding a convent of cloister women, for he believed that defend the faith there must be warriors of prayer. There I have not seen a huge increase, but I have seen those thinking of going into the cloister communities and other religious Orders thriving (look at Mother Angelica's community). If you expose those who to hear the call I expect they will not allow the secular world or anything get in the way. I think of one of my patrons who is one portion of my religious name in the Dominican Laity, Blessed Diana d'Andalo when she was exposed to the call of her vocation she did not let anything stop her, for even when she was physically locked up and injured she was emotional and mentally willing to discern her vocation as a Dominican Nun.
All in all, did I answer the question? In a sense I did, but maybe it was not explained in the best possible way. I hope that people will response to not only my blog entry, but Jennifer Fulwiler's too. Please do!