Vocations and Integration

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Vocations and Integration | Vocations and Integration with Fr. Jonathan McElhone, TOR. Margaret:  Do/how do you see a lack of human and spiritual integration in people today | #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #Joyfreedom #MargaretVasquezs #GrowingVirtue #ModelofHonesty #Friends #GrowingCharitytoUprootGreed #UprootGreed #GrowingCharity #TipsforConnection #GreaterPeaceJoyandfreedom #TheStruggleisReal! #InterconnectedPsychology&Spirituality #InterconnectedPsychologyandSpirituality #VocationsandIntegrationVocations and Integration

Vocations and Integration with Fr. Jonathan McElhone, TOR.

Margaret:  Do/how do you see a lack of human and spiritual integration in people today?

Fr. Jonathan McElhone, TOR:  People are afraid to make mistakes. At times, I’ve seen people confuse their vocation with their salvation. Vocation is tied to our mission, our path toward holiness. Salvation is connected to how I receive God’s love and mercy in my life. Confusing these leads to the belief that God will be disappointed with me if I choose the wrong vocation.

Margaret:  How do you see a lack of human and spiritual integration in people today?

Fr. Jonathan:  IDENTITY – so often, people are concerned with what others think of them and their identity, and in the midst of the cancel culture, they are afraid of being rejected.  This often leads them to hide their authentic spirituality.  With the instant news/social posts of videos, snippets, and soundbites, which often attack the dignity of the human person, published from an ‘agenda,’ people become afraid to even speak the truth or speak honestly.

At times, people over-spiritualize and romanticize to an extreme what they think they need to do to ‘please’ God. For example, St. Francis of Assisi had severe fasts, which some speculated led to his early death.  Yes, self-denial is necessary in the spiritual life, but doing so should still respect the dignity of the human person.

Margaret:  Is human and spiritual integration necessary, especially for the living out of one’s vocation?  Especially in religious communities?

Fr. Jonathan:  YES!  My own experience as a Franciscan, where fraternal life holds an important place, I’ve witnessed a direct connection between my spiritual life and how I am able to embrace and live out my Franciscan vocation and vise versa.  When I’m responding well to the graces of God’s love (close in prayer, not always feelings), it is so much easier to accept my identity as a child of God, offering me a perspective on how I see others and situations. It is easier to live in the truth of the light of Jesus.   If I find myself far from the Lord (struggling with sin), then often I’ve witnessed my response to others and even my own self-narrative becomes much less life giving.

Margaret:  What are some of the qualities/aspects of someone’s life you look for in potential candidates?

Fr. Jonathan:  A person of prayer, actively seeking holiness and a life conformed to Christ Jesus and has a generous heart. I look for someone who is mature, well integrated, who doesn’t make discernment about emotions, or fantasies.  Do they have a clear understanding of their own identity as a child of God? Are they aware of their own strength and weaknesses, and willing to address and work on those weaknesses (TOR charism of ongoing conversion).  Are they open to formation, instruction and correction? Do they seem like a person who could embrace and live the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience?  Do they get along well with a wide diversity of people?  Do they really want to serve the Lord (or are they looking for a free ride)?  Are they educatable (MA degrees).  Do they have important life skills and experiences (laundry, cooking, holding a real job, finances, etc.)

Margaret:  Any recommendations (human and/or spiritual) for young people to be prepared to live out a religious vocation?

Fr. Jonathan:  Grow deeper in prayer daily, participate in the sacraments regularly (more than once a week).  Get to know yourself, strengths, weaknesses, talents, gifts à live out of these.

Stop only thinking about discernment and actually do something: talk to a priest or religious, visit a community, get involved in ministry, go on a mission trip, etc. Action gives the material for the heart to discern with. Both the heart and the mind are required for healthy discernment. Evaluate your heart after an action and look for the fruit of the Holy Spirit, especially peace and joy.

Margaret:  How can interested men contact you regarding discerning a vocation to the Franciscan TOR Friars of the Province of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus?

Fr. Jonathan:  The best way… website: Franciscanstor.org and click the tab “Vocations contact” where they can submit contact info and I’ll be sure to reach out to them quickly.

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