Praying for Kids Vocations
A few weeks ago, Alison called me on her way home from the hospital. She was listening to Catholic radio and the host had suggested that parents pray a monthly novena for their children's vocations. I instantly thought of the struggles in discerning my own vocation and the benefit that 18 years of constant prayer could gain. We shepherd our children's lives, why not pray for their vocations?
Discernment is a long and often confusing process. I remember exactly where I was when I realized that my discernment was over. Alison and I were riding in the car shortly before our wedding day and I remember putting my hand on her hand and saying, "We've discerned our vocation. I'm so glad that's over." Our calling was to the married life and we had found our partner. Since the discernment process isn't an exact science, there are lots of turns, and ups and downs. Thankfully there are plenty of road signs along the way, but even then, those signs can be hard to read.
Prayer absolutely works. God often doesn't respond in the way that we want or with the same level of immediacy that we seek. However, He does respond in a time and at a place that's most beneficial to us. We should pray for our children for help in their discernment process and for their increased attunement with God. This attunement will put them in sync with God and help them to better understand His mind.
As your children grow, this monthly novena idea will provide you with a great chance to talk about vocations with your kids. We need to make sure that we're giving them information that is both accurate and appropriate. We need to present all vocations as particular calls to holiness and that each can equally lead to sainthood, as well as to despair if one has a selfish heart. We need great priests, we need great religious, and we need great married couples. As this evolving discussion takes place, your children, supported by prayer, will be able to more fully understand the universal call to holiness and how vocation plays a central role in that call.
Praying for your children's vocations is a wonderful habit that I'd recommend to your family. Alison and I are going to start this family tradition in May on Benedict's behalf and intend on continuing until all of our children have fully answered their vocation in life.