In his column on Page 19, Father Ayo Ayeni contrasts the conventional thinking and life of our age with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. The pursuit of wisdom, he says, leads one to communion and to understand love as sacrifice. The sinking into conventionality plants one in a blah existence, one lacking even in moral signposts.
That theme runs like a flowing stream through the many articles in this week's Religious Vocations supplement.
Most striking is the story of Mary Phillips (Page 16) who has been hearing God's "call of love" since she was 13 and is only now, 38 years later, entering religious life. How difficult it is in our society of desires and distractions to hear God's call of love and to know where he is leading. Phillips is clearly one who listened hard to the Lord and yet it still took her many years to hear with clarity.
A much different story, yet one with a similar dynamic, is that of Sister Annuntiata (Page 13) who was inspired by the diary of St. Faustina Kowalska. Now, filled with joy, she works among the First Nations people at Hobbema and sees that ministry as "an opportunity to pour out my heart and love Jesus through others."
Then, there is Father Frank Kuczera (Page 12). A man who will not be held hostage by any hidebound conventionality, Father Frank is, nevertheless, no rebel. His ministry is about "washing feet," serving the people in whose midst he has been placed no matter what the sacrifice.
Finally, Deacon Miguel Irizar (Page 1), the next priest for our archdiocese. Irizar's faith was forged in the unconventional fire of a very large family where he learned "how beautiful it is to give yourself completely to your little brothers and sisters."
Striking also is the media fast for seminarians (Page 8) that enables them to put aside the buzzing, booming distractions of our culture and, in the silence, focus on what is most real. Our Western media and frantic pace of life are huge impediments to wisdom and the strongest bulwarks of conventionality.
Theologian Phillip Blond talks about "the violence of denial" inherent in the unyielding boundaries of secularism. In today's secular orthodoxy, one must deny that the heart's eternal yearning for communion with God is anything more than a subjective feeling. Such denial is surely a form of violence, a violence that denies one his or her full personhood.
Those who have made the highly unconventional choice - the option for religious life or priesthood - have refused to submit to the violence. Their hunger for the inexhaustible wisdom of the Trinity will not be denied. Today's noisy culture does not hold everyone in its thrall. The human heart yearns for more, for the fullness of life that can only be found in communion with eternal wisdom.