Instead, the Salesian missionary vocation is a gift of the Lord, a call to some. The Salesian missionary does not belong to an élite group of privileged confreres. He is someone who lives in a more generous and radical way the common Salesian vocation of all the confreres.
The missionary vocation is invoked in prayer, awakened in the confreres, verified in their discernment, and accompanied in their growth.
It is through prayer that those who are attracted to the missionary life discover, sustain, and nurture their call. Daily prayer helps one to be attuned to God’s call. In prayer one encounters God by bringing before Him questions which the Holy Spirit has stirred in one's heart, one's dreams, struggles, and worries.
Initiatives to foster missionary animation are important means to keep alive the missionary spirit of all Salesians and the whole EPC: prayer for missionaries every 11th of the month; use of Cagliero 11 and CaglieroLife; celebration of the annual Salesian Mission Day; summer missionary experience abroad (SDBs in initial formation); missionary youth groups, and the Salesian Missionary Volunteer Movement. Indeed, an effective missionary animation gives birth to Salesian missionary vocation.
St. John Paul II wrote that “love is the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being” (Familiaris Consortio, no.11). Every person has a unique, unrepeatable vocation to love. Discerning one’s missionary vocation means discerning how God is calling one to love and live in a more generous and radical way one’s Salesian vocation.
Accompaniment is an important way to help clarify the deep desires of one’s heart. Discernment requires openness to the spiritual guide, time, patience, and perseverance. The spiritual guide is a ‘friend of the soul’ who helps one through confusion and sometimes frustration which can be part of the discernment process.
If you think God is calling you to be a Salesian Missionary: pray, have a spiritual guide, and discern!
Fr Alfred Maravilla, SDB
General Councillor for the Missions