29 Jul 2020

Discerning your vocation in the COVID desert

The Southern Cross  |  August 3

Discerning your vocation in the COVID desert

As the Archdiocese prepares to celebrate National Vocations Awareness Week in August, Vocations director Fr Peter Zwaans says it’s important to get the basics right when discerning a vocation.

We don’t have to read the Scriptures for very long before we find out that God likes deserts. He originally planted a garden for us to live in, but things get messy and we end up with some arid patches in the world and knowing that there are some desert areas, God’s going to make use of them.

The 12 tribes of Israel walk through the desert for 40 years after their escape from Egypt. The prophet Elijah was strengthened in the desert to shake off his discouragement and continue his mission.

And, of course, Jesus goes into the desert for 40 days before he begins his public ministry. Deserts aren’t comfortable places and they make us question our priorities. It’s in the arid desert where we discover how important the essentials really are, and also that the lost luxuries perhaps weren’t as important as we first thought.

Deserts are places also of silence, simplicity and sometimes a bit of boredom. When some of our distractions are taken away, we can often hear God’s voice a little louder and a little clearer.

COVID-19 seems to have given us all something of a desert experience. Our time of tighter social restrictions may have helped us to re-evaluate some of our priorities and re-focus on the essentials.

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