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One of the awesome benefits of homeschooling (and teaching in general) is that I get to learn along with my students. The subject of History has been an astounding example of this.
After trying several history curriculums, our family encountered something called RC History, an amazing program designed to incorporate the Catholic faith throughout its studies using works of literature for all ages. All 4 of my kids embraced it wholeheartedly and it quickly became a family favorite as each delved into the assigned time period at his/her grade level.
What I love about this particular program is that it does not focus solely on the history of the Catholic faith throughout time; it takes our faith and puts it side-by side with history, illuminating the absolutely astounding role of the Catholic Church in the world of yesteryear as well as its vital influence on the world today.
I am not sure I could adequately relate how these studies have affected the way that I view the Church and my faith. Along with a deeper growth in my desire to continue the work that so many Christians have tirelessly devoted their lives to and for, I also gain an even greater appreciation of religious vocations, my love for those living out these vocations increasing with every turn of the page.
Blessedly, I have had the incredible privilege of meeting truly GREAT priests, brothers, monks and sisters, some of which have had a direct influence on many of my life choices. (Incidentally, I don't know if I have revealed this yet, but I had strongly considered becoming a religious sister before I met Rod and encountered my true calling. As it often happens, God's plans were not my own; I'm so grateful He helped me to see the need to follow His plans!) These astounding followers of Christ so captivated, motivated and encouraged my faith journey that I developed a longing to discern being a part of who they were....in other words, I wanted what they had. When I mentioned these thoughts to my friends? Snickers and looks of disbelief were the reaction and I found myself quite alone.
"You've got to be kidding me!" and "What???" are often the responses of kids to those who encourage discernment. Usually, they don't even know what it means to discern their vocation. My heart breaks to know that they will never experience the love, joy, and depth of thought and feeling that I was lucky enough to encounter during that time of searching.
Do you remember any of the amazing homilies and speeches on discernment during Pope Benedict's "Year of Priests"? There were some that were so good that I almost stood up and applauded before the end had been reached! That beautiful, Holy Spirit-inspired year bore great fruit among vocations as vocations again increased in 2015.
Even with the encouragement that those entering vocations enjoyed, the affect of the culture still played its part. In a CARA study, 48% of priests ordained in 2015 were discouraged from becoming a priest. Thankfully, the majority had great support, providing the reinforcement they needed to stay the course. I can't imagine what it would be like if all kids could have such support in discerning their vocation. It would only bring such good to the world as kids search out their true identity and grow in their relationship with God. This quote says it well:
"DISCOVERING VOCATION does not mean scrambling toward some prize just beyond my reach but accepting the treasure of true self I already possess. Vocation does not come from a voice ‘out there’ calling me to be something I am not. It comes from a voice ‘in here’ calling me to be the person I was born to be, to fulfill the original selfhood given me at birth by God."
--Fr. Thomas Merton, O.C.S.O. (1915-1968)
Since this weekend brings us to the "World Day of Prayer for Vocations," let's really pray for vacation awareness and increase. As history has shown, not only the fate of the Church but that of the world depends on it!
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May your Lent be truly fruitful and fill you with longing for His Resurrection!
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Hi! I'm a Catholic mom who loves to encourage and support others in their journey to live the beauty of our Catholic faith in a modern world. It can be a struggle, no doubt, but God has given us the tools we need! Join my family (both immediate and extended!) and me as we take on this incredible journey of our path to holiness.
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