Synod 2018: The Joy and Challenge of Vocation

The Synod Preparatory Document

The Vatican has released the preparatory document for the Synod on “Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment”. In this post, we cover some of its highlights as it relates to personal vocation.

You can read all of the questions that the Synod committee posed to the faithful here. We welcome your answers and comments.

The Primacy of Joy

The thread that runs through the pope’s Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (the joy of the Gospel), the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (helping families find that joy), and now the synod on “Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment (Synod 2018) is joy. Indeed, the preparatory document itself states that. In fact, it opens with a line from John’s gospel that we could consider the guiding scripture passage for the entire document:

“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (Jn 15:11)

Apostle John on breast of Jesus

The apostle St. John on the breast of Jesus at the Last Supper

Challenges: Degrees of Freedom

Young people face different circumstances depending on which part of the world they live in. Still globalization has led to young people being more alike today than at many other periods. For example, they show a readiness to to commit themselves to concrete activities in which the personal contribution of each might be an occasion for recognizing one’s personal identity.

There has been a diffusion of the phenomenon of NEET, which means “not in education, employment, or training”. And this means many young people not engaged in an activity of study or work or vocational training at all. Sadly, women are disproportionately affected by this.

The synod preparatory document differentiates between passive and active young:

“The discrepancy between young people who are passive and discouraged and those enterprising and energetic comes from the concrete opportunities offered to each one in society and the family in which one develops, in addition to the experiences of a sense of meaning, relationships and values which are formed even before the onset of youth.”

Let’s help our youth be receptive listeners to Holy Spirit, and active in charity!

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Luke is co-creator of ActivPrayer and Executive Director of Inscape, an organization that he co-founded with Dr. Joshua Miller. Visit his Speaker page here.

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