By Father Sean Suckiel
Among the many blessings in my priestly ministry is spending time with high school students.
Wherever we meet, be it in a school ministry office, at a discernment group or some other venue, high school students ask a lot of questions about life, religion and fulfillment. Ultimately, these young people are trying to find themselves. That is their vocation in life. Everyone must go through this process. Therefore, it is necessary to help young people to discern God’s voice in their lives.
When I speak with students, I often challenge them to find answers to the most elementary questions of life: Who am I? Why did God create me? What is my purpose/mission in life?
These answers cannot be found in textbooks nor can they be googled on the internet. True answers come from a deep interior reflection and dialogue with God.
Courage in Seeking Truth
In today’s world, we need to be courageous to search for these answers. Why? It is because these questions encourage us to go deeper into our prayer lives, to be in dialogue with God. We cannot have a relationship with friends or family if we never talk to them. And so it is also in our relationship with God. This is the importance of prayer.
When we pray, we talk to God, who has a plan for our lives. We draw our strength from these conversations. The more we pray with an open heart, the better we will be able to hear what God is saying to us. This is not an easy task.
The deeper we wish to go into prayer, the more distractions there are. Things will begin to get in the way of our dialogue with God. We need to be attentive to these distractions because there are many voices that fight for our attention.
One of the most common distractions is immediate reward. We want to know the answers before the questions of life are even asked.
I encourage young people to learn to trust in Jesus, now, as He is revealing in their hearts who they belong to, what they are created for and how they will find true peace and happiness in their lives.
God calls us when we are living the life we have now, often in the midst of our successes. My advice to young people is to not to sit around waiting for God to tell them what they want to hear; God is already trying to get their attention in the everyday lives that they live.
When is the time to respond to a vocation? Not later, but now!
Now is the time to respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and allow God to lead you down a path in life which you would not think of choosing for yourself.
And don’t be afraid of God’s responses to those elementary questions of life.
Father Suckiel is the vocation director of the Diocese of Brooklyn.