The Church has been praying for an increase in vocations for (at least) twenty-something years. I grew up in a Norvus Ordo parish, and every Sunday the prayer for vocations went up on the projector and the whole parish would recite it. And yet during all these years as a young Catholic girl, I never heard of any young men from my parish joining the seminary.
The “crisis” seems to be pointed to priestly and religious vocations. But where are these vocations to come from? This article http://www.wordonfire.org/resources/blog/what-the-cara-reports-tells-us-about-our-newest-priests/4724/ gives very interesting statistics in regards to our seminaries, and what type of men are in them. According to statistics, our current future priests are coming from families and parishes that cultivate strong formation and a solid spiritual life. In the words of Pope Benedict XVI: “The family is fundamental because it is the place where there germinates in the human soul the first perception of the meaning of life. This perception grows in the relationship with the mother and with the father, who are not the owners of the life of the children but the first collaborators with God in the transmission of life and the faith.” (Who doesn’t love Pope Benedict!?)
The more sacramental marriages we have, the more holy children we will have, the more solid priestly and religious vocations our Church will have. It’s basic logic. As a generalization, our grandparents generation failed at passing down the faith (we won’t get into why, that’s for another post entirely). The few of our parents generation who, by the grace of God, were preserved in the faith, have passed it onto the few of our generation. We are the future of the Church Militant. We ARE the Church Militant. It is our duty to find spouses who treasure the faith as much as we do, and be open to life in such a way that allows every single child God intends to be born into this world. (I’m not saying every one of us must have 16 children, but NFP is as rampant among “Catholics” as the pill is in high schools.) So it is our call to either enter into a holy marriage and raise soldiers of Christ who are stronger then the last, or to devote our life to prayer and fasting for said soldiers.
I know, it is isn’t easy not knowing which of these two paths God intends for you. In fact, I am convinced that this state of uncertainty is far more uncomfortable then almost any discomfort related to any certain vocation…almost. But God only has you in a certain spot because you can benefit from it. Just think of all the sacrifices… the discomfort in uncertainty can be offered up for your future spouse, future children, future religious order, etc etc. Why not embrace this time of sacrificing as a gift from God for your (and those you love) eternal salvation. In the end, the ultimate goal is to reach heaven, and bring along as many as you possibly can.