January 22 was the 46th anniversary of the death of Monsignor Louis Forget. During his time as pastor of St. Patrick's, Monsignor Forget inspired many young men to the holy priesthood. Vocation is a great gift from God that need to be nurtured and fostered. The Church commemorates St. John Bosco on January 31, who was an ardent promoter of priestly vocations.
Signs of Priestly Vocation
St. John Bosco once pointed out to a young man the three signs of a priestly vocation:
The first sign is moral goodness. St. John Bosco saw the keeping of the Commandments regarding the virtue of chastity as the fundamental requirement of moral goodness. St. John Bosco pointed out that confessor is the best judge about a person's moral goodness.
The second sign is sufficient intellectual ability. St. John Bosco pointed out that it is the task of ecclesiastical superiors to judge the intellectual ability of aspirants to the priesthood through examinations.
The third sign is clerical spirit. Clerical spirit is the inclination and interest to participate the liturgical ceremonies of the Church. Clerical spirit also includes the strong desire for the clerical state, and the preference of the clerical state over all other positions in society.
Means to Foster Priestly Vocation
In 1876 during a meeting with the rectors of the Salesian order, St. John Bosco proposed some simple but effective means to foster priestly vocation: First, encourage young people to receive the Sacraments frequently. Second, treat young people with great love. Third, show great confidence to those young men who are more mature and have attraction to the priesthood by entrusting some tasks to them. Fourth, give good example by celebrating liturgical rites with great reverence. Fifth, encourage young people to do altar serving. Sixth, show young people personal care: chat with them, listen to them, and encourage them to share their own stories.
Discerning a Vocation
To discern a vocation, we must turn to God, submit to others, and be honest with oneself.
We must turn to God in prayer. Vocation is a gift from God. To discern this gift, we must be willing to listen to God. Prayer helps us to open our heart to God and to be docile to His inspirations. Prayer also helps us to achieve that clarity of mind which enables us to judge things according to the light of faith. Making retreats and daily meditations are effective means to discover the will of God for us.
We must submit to others. When discerning a vocation, the proper authority of the Church make judgment regarding the suitability of the aspirants to the priesthood. During the period of priestly formation the roles of spiritual director and confessor are very crucial in judging the moral goodness and the proper intention of the candidate.
We must be honest with oneself. Following the will of God brings us a profound sense of peace. Acting contrary to God's will brings us a sense of uneasiness and emptiness. An aspirants must ask himself honestly what is his intention in becoming a priest. St. John Bosco encouraged young men who were discerning vocation to imagine oneself to be at the point of death, and to reflect one's decision in the light of eternity.
Like St. John Bosco and Monsignor Forget, may we priests continue to inspire many young men to the dignity of Holy Orders.
一月二十二日是類斯.福瑾Louis Forget蒙席逝世四十六週年。福瑾蒙席任聖伯特利爵St. Patrick’s堂主任司鐸時，激勵了不少年青人追隨神品聖召。聖召是天主極大的恩典，但需要培育和滋養。教會於一月三十一日紀念的聖若望.鮑思高John Bosco神父，便是培育年青神品聖召的表表者。
第三個標記就是具備神職的精神。聖鮑思高說: 「所謂神職精神, 就是覺得一種傾向和興趣, 去參與適合自己年齡和本份的聖堂各種禮儀。神職精神有一種更重要的特色, 就是使人喜歡這種地位勝於其他地位, 即使其他地位能為他帶來更大的名利。」
一八七六年，聖鮑思高在慈幼會Salesian Order 的院長會議上，建議一些簡單而又有效培育聖召的方法：第一，鼓勵青年勤領聖事；第二，向青年顯示極大的愛心；第三，對那些年長及有晉鐸傾向的青年顯示很大的信任。例如委託他們做一些工作；第四，妥善並端莊地舉行聖堂的禮儀，好能給青年立下虔敬和聖善的好榜樣；第五，鼓勵孩子們參加輔祭團；第六，親切地對待青年人。例如跟他們閒聊、說笑、聽他們傾訴、鼓勵他們多分享自己內心的故事。
多祈禱: 聖召是天主的恩賜。我們要識別這恩賜就應藉祈禱去聆聽天主。祈禱幫助我們向天主敞開內心，追隨祂的指引。祈禱也能淨化我們的心, 好能以信德的光判斷事物。退省和每天默想，都是識別天主聖意的好方法。
服從長上: 在識別聖召期間, 教會的長上要對一個人是否適合作神職人員作出判决。在培訓司鐸神品期間，神師和聽告解司鐸，在判斷接受培訓者的道德和意向，也負上重要的一環。
內心誠實: 承行天主聖意的人，能享有真正的內心平安; 違抗天主聖意，會帶來不安和空虛。有志做神父的人，必需撫心自問，自己想做神父的真正動機何在。聖鮑思高建議有志於聖召的年青人，嘗試想像臨終一刻，怎樣做出踏進永生的抉擇。
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