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National Vocations Awareness Week


Early in his public ministry, Jesus began to select an inner circle of followers who he would train to carry out his work after he was gone.   He simply kept his eyes open for people of strength and character who might be willing to join him.  Jesus simply issued an invitation to those who he thought qualified, but he left the choice up to them.  The first two men who answered his call were brothers. Simon and Andrew responded to his invitation to become fishers of men without hesitation. They left their nets and followed after him. The next two men who answered his call were also brothers. James and John also left their father’s fishing boat and joined his company.


I don’t think we should make that much of the kinship of these men as brothers and cousins…maybe their kinship was just a matter of coincidence.  But there may be a deeper reason why these four men responded to Christ’s call. Faith is often a family affair.  We live in a country and at a time when rugged individualism and exaggerated privacy are highly valued.  We cherish and nurture individual freedom as the highest good.  But faith is usually cultivated and strengthened in the context of the family……your own personal family and then there is your extended family, friends and mentors.  I see your family and that of friends, teachers etc  as the primary educators in our society and community.  As you know, you have come to know about the world and about your own selves through your family first and now in your maturing years many want to see this through and realise it.


Let’s face it, we live in an age of immediate gratification.  We have instant oatmeal for breakfast while we watch the news.  It might not be you, maybe not your fathers but for many…..they race to the airport to catch a plane to a business meeting in a neighbouring State or territory.  In the plane to the business meeting, reports are read, data is analysed in order to be prepared for the meeting.  There is the arrival at the other airport and there is a quick lunch en route to the destination.  There is the intense and quick meeting, and then it is back into the taxi to fly back home.  Arriving home, the person gets into their car and get really exasperated at all the slow drivers on the Tullamarine Freeway and then when the individual arrives home, checks the messages on the phone and then finally fall into bed realising that not everything was able to be done or achieved during the day that was intended.  The alarm is set for 520am to start the whole process all over again.


I know this is not you but I am trying to highlight something important.  Considering what I have just said, it is no wonder that we are now a nation obsessed with crash diets, quick surgical results, and troubled relationships and threatened by early death.  We want everything done yesterday if not sooner.  But when we put all of this in terms of our faith and Jesus….all that he did and said….all his parables remind each and every one of us that life takes time.  He explained, “A man scatters seed on the ground.   Days pass before the seed sprouts.  First the blade, then the ear, finally the ripe wheat in the ear.  When the crop is ready, the man wields the sickle and raps the harvest.’ 

We need to slow down and smell the roses!   Life takes time and for that reason we should learn to take time as well.  Our time schedule is not God’s time schedule.  Jesus is telling us that everything worthwhile takes time.

Be patient with your life and all its’ many vital decisions.


Fr Tony Cox SSC
Executive Officer


National Vocations Awareness Week:
A Reflection


There is a saying that goes thus: “God often visits us but most of the time we ae not at home when he comes!”

The story of Thomas is instructive and consoling too because our journey in spirit is often a slow walk though moments of doubt and times of consolation.  Thomas, whose hopes were already shattered because of the death of his beloved Master, was all the more hurt because Jesus appeared to his companions in his absence.  So he refused to believe until he saw him and placed his hand in his side.  Is it any different from our lack of faith when our life is shattered by a broken marriage, a death in the family, a sudden unexplained illness, the loss of a job or a serious financial crisis? 

Thomas stands for all of us who travel the road of doubt and at times are unsure of our belief.  Jesus appreciated Thomas’ honesty and met him at the very point of his uncertainty.  Doubt for him proved to be a growing point of a faith made stronger when tested.

For us, living a truly Christian life involves putting into practice in our daily lives the faith we profess.  There is no greater expression of faith than the life lived with others in the Christian spirit of friendship, harmony and love.  Faith is a blessing because it alone gives meaning to our lives and is the driving force to our existence.


Questions & Answers


Jesus said “I have come that you may have life and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)  If we are to find that fullness of life promised by Jesus, there is a need for each of us to take the time and the opportunity to discover, and consciously choose, the vocation, or the calling, that best fits our gifts, talents and personalities.

Our English word vocation comes from the Latin ‘vocare’ which means ‘a calling’.  Every Christian has a vocation! Through baptism, all of us are called to become like Jesus Christ – sharing his life and love, and placing our personal gifts and talents at the service of others.





The simple answer is “LISTEN”.  You need to reflect, pray, discuss, evaluate and then CHOOSE!

The outcome will be well worth it all!

Options can only be options if we are aware of them – all of them!  When you have seriously considered all of the vocational choices, in the light of your hopes and desires, your gifts and talents, you should be able to make an informed decision about your future vocation – your choice should be the recipe for long-term happiness, deep inner peace and fulfilment!



Reflect about the Vocational choices that are open to you…pray about them…talk about them with trusted family members and friends…talk to people who are happy with their vocational choice – as a married or single person, a religious sister…a brother…a priest…a deacon.  Ask them what gives them life and peace…






This vocational magazine is produced by CVMA and is available from our office.

 (Donation and postage is $8 per issue)

Other information about NVAW 2015 is listed under coming events.


National Vocations Awareness Week:
Is God Calling YOU?

There’s a story that’s told about an only child, a 3 year old girl, whose mother was pregnant again.  The girl could not wait until the baby was born.  Soon after her parents brought the baby boy home from the hospital, she excitedly made a request:  Could she be alone with her new baby brother in his room all by herself for just a few minutes?

Her parents were a bit uneasy about this idea, but, since, they had installed an intercom system, they reluctantly granted her wish.  So, once their daughter went into the room and shut the door, they raced to the intercom to listen to what she was doing.  What they heard was a 3 year old girl whisper to her new-born brother…….”Tell me about God…….I’ve almost forgotten.”

This story makes us smile…there’s the “WoW’ factor associated….you name it but it also makes us uncomfortable.  Because the story suggests that when we are young we clearly know that we come from God.  But, in the process of growing up, we start to forget:  We forget from whom we came and in whom we live.

This sense of increasing forgetfulness as we become more conscious of our own self-centeredness reminds us of the primary meaning of the Genesis Story in which Adam and Eve became estranged from God and begain to live in exile “east of Eden.”

Little by little, as we mature, each of us starts to descend into the world of self-concern.  We begin to become blind to the needs of others and immersed in our own self.  “What are you looking for?”   This is the question Jesus asked the two men in the Gospels..…….and Jesus asks each one of us the same thing.


As a child, my mother was not content with me having pray the ordinary prayers at the end of the day and sometimes even the prayers at meals times……..there was to be a litany of sorts in which family, friends and those less fortunate were  to be remembered.  Finish off with the Prayer:   “Please God, help me to know my vocation and have the grace and strength to follow it.”

I’m a firm believer in the fact that my Father and Mother were firm believers  that everyone had a vocation…..a call to serve God with their best talents and deepest desires.  Her vocation was to be a wife and mother; Dad’s a husband, father and dedicated Town Clerk…..and so on down the line.

That prayer permeated our consciousness such that, for me, “what I want to be when I grow up’ was inevitably a question of vocation, not just a career.  I think my Mother but especially my Grandmother played a role like that of Eli in 1 Sam 3. 3-10, 19 whereby he was directing all to pay attention not to their or society’s expectations, but to the voice of God, which would become clear if one listened.


Samuel served in the temple under Eli’s care.  By the third time the boy’s sleep was disturbed, Eli realised that God was calling, and, like a parent who frees a child to seek their own destiny, Eli told him to listen.  Listening became Samuel’s way of life.

Samuel’s call and response provide a wonderful complement to that part of the Gospels  (John 1.35-42) where John is depicted as knowing himself as the forerunner, the one who would fulfil his prophetic vocation by pointing others toward God’s activity in their midst.  So he told his disciples to look and see what was before them, thereby freeing and even sending them to follow Jesus.  And, like Eli in Samuel’s story, John’s role began to diminish from that moment on.

Next, we hear the first words Jesus spoke.  “What do you seek?”  This is ultimately the most important question in anyone’s life.  Whether or not we clearly articulate our response, everything we do reveals our answer to it.

As the Gospel presents it, Andrew and his companion began to respond by calling Jesus “Rabbi”, allowing that one word to signal their desire to learn from him.  They then asked a profoundly theological question:   “Where do you abide?”   It was impossible for Jesus to respond to that question with an address or geography.  At that moment, the answer they needed was “Come and see.”  Only after they spent three years with him could Jesus answer more fully. 

At the Last Supper, reminding them that following him is a matter of the heart and soul as much as the feet, ears and eyes, he said, “Abide in my love….just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love” (John 15. 9-10) 

The real answer to that first question is that his abode was in them.

As we celebrate this National Vocations awareness Week for 2015, these readings and reflections invite us to refocus, to take stock of what we most desire and how we are going after it. 

The vocation to “Come and See”, to remain with, to abide in Christ, belongs to all of us, each in our own particular way.

 Pope Francis has called for 2015 to be a year focusing on the “Consecrated Life”, Catholicism’s ancient and ongoing practice of encouraging and supporting some members of the Church to dedicate themselves exclusively to God and spreading the Gospel through the “religious” or “consecrated” life.  Some Christians experience a call to make the religious dimension of their life uniquely important and central…..so much so that no other life commitment is possible for them. Theirs’ is not a common vocation, nor does it have more or less worth than any other.   It is one valuable vocation in the church, and one that Pope Francis is inviting us to think more about throughout the year.

Perhaps this goes back to Eli and my family…….

In this year of “Consecrated Life”, the whole church is invited to consider God’s call to each and every person.  In addition, during this year we are invited to think again, to appreciate anew, the vocation of men and women religious in the church.  Following the example of Eli and John the Baptist, we are all called to point others toward their Christian vocation.  A few, like Samuel, Andrew, Peter and other women who followed Jesus , are called to live the unique vocation to “Consecrated Life”.

No matter what our call is, I believe that prayer I mentioned at the beginning of this homily still remains extremely important……..”Dear God, please help me to know my vocation and have the grace and strength to follow it.”

And I would only add a few words…..”all the days of my life.”

2015 CVMA Executive

Left to Right:
Peter Hendriks msc
Jenny Seal fdnsc
Tony Cox ssc
Claire Cooke ssps
Janette Murphy rsj

Left to right:
Mrs. Donna Millsom
Jenny Seal fdnsc
Peter Hendriks msc
Catherine Warner pbvm
Anne Taylor rsc
Janette Murphy rsj
Lindsay Rust sac
Claire Cooke ssps
Catholic Vocations Ministry Australia © 2015