Spain - Fr Juan José Bartolomé: "How to follow a God whom we do not listen to or appreciate?"

07 May 2018

(ANS - Madrid) - Fr Juan José Bartolomé, SDB, extracts "Three stories of vocation" of the Holy Scriptures - those of Samuel, Jeremiah and the rich young man - to show that "God also speaks to young people" (Dios habla también a los jóvenes is the title of his latest book, published by "Editorial CCS"). These are pieces that, according to this New Testament teacher, currently active at the Salesian Theological Institute of Tlaquepaque, Mexico, share an "obvious" message: "In times of crisis, God can make adolescents prophets ... if they dedicate themselves to listening to Him."

Why does it cost so much today to listen to God's call?

Because we live with many entertainments, but with little interior life; with much noise, more in the heart, than in the environment (which is saying everything); worried more about ourselves than about God and his living image, the neighbor who needs us. Fearing that God asks us for things we do not want or cannot give Him, we refuse to listen to Him. A God so detached, who says nothing anymore, who means so little, ends up being an idol, as harmless as it is easy to deal with.

To what extent is the "vocational crisis" a sign of the times?

I do not believe, sincerely, there is a crisis of vocations. God always calls as many as He wants; another thing is if we want to listen to Him. In the Christian community it seems to me that something very serious is happening: among us believers, even the best, we live in a state of permanent disobedience. Engaged as we are in solving social problems, ours or our loved ones, it does not matter what God says to us in what happens to us. It is more urgent for us to intervene in the world, than to allow God to intervene in our hearts. How can we follow a God that we do not listen to or appreciate?

Does the vocations ministry need renewal?

Of course, the vocations ministry needs a profound renewal, but not in its recipients, the world of youth, but in its "pastors", those sent by God. Because have we forgotten that Jesus, before sending the twelve, two at a time, to evangelize, first ordered them to pray to the Lord for the harvest? A life of personal prayer and the authentic witnessing of those faces transfigured for having conversed with God are the best way to arouse and take care of the possible vocations. Only those who have encountered the Lord become His effective propagators.

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