Archbishop Jason Gordon revealed when he was 16 years old, his powers of discernment were really “not good” for he allowed his “inadequacies” to become an obstacle to what God was asking of him. He urged participants at the first ‘Generation S’ Vocations Camp to learn from him and not completely shut the thought of a vocation down, as he did until he was 21 years old.
The Archbishop was speaking last Sunday night at the August 11–13 camp themed EXPLORE 2019 at the Seminary of St John Vianney and Uganda Martyrs, Mt St Benedict.
The purpose of the camp, he told the mainly teenaged campers, is not that they will leave knowing their vocation, but that the seed will be planted in them and they receive the “tools” to hear what God is asking of them.
“…you are not here because we want you to become priests. You are here because we want you to hear God’s call on your life and we want you to man up to hear that call, to interrogate it, to accept it, to live it and to become what God is asking you to become,” he said.
Everyone has a vocation. A vocation is a calling from God. There was lively banter and engagement throughout the Archbishop’s discourse.
When Archbishop Gordon shared he had a girlfriend the participants erupted in exclamation. “I thought this was marriage. And one day we were talking and she said to me ‘I know I don’t have you for long you know…I know you going to be a priest’,” he said. He told them that he nearly fell off his chair laughing as at the time, it was the most “foolish” comment.
In hindsight, Archbishop Gordon believed that God will use anything once you are open enough to realising your vocation. “So my girlfriend was the mouthpiece of God. And about six months after that I knew I was wrestling too deeply,” he said.
The Archbishop said though he was doing well in his family business, in his faith, in his relationship, God “put a thing” in him and because he was open he had better powers of discernment this time.
He told those gathered that at this stage of their lives, they either have a vocation to married, single, consecrated or religious life, lay person or the priesthood. He asserted since they are not married, they are single and discerning.
Discerning, he continued, is not “meandering aimlessly but consciously asking God which path they should take”. The Archbishop also mentioned another critical element of being single and discerning: there are “some things” that they ought not do. “Things that married people and them does do,” he said, to coughs and laughter.
The camp included activities, reflections and workshops. There were sessions on: ‘Marriage and Family Life’ by Carl and Sharlene Quamina; ‘Priesthood and Religious Life’ with Frs Gerard Tang Choon O Carm, Robert Christo and Steve Ransome; ‘Obstacles to Vocational Discernment’ and ‘Skills for Vocational Discernment’ with Fr Matthew d’Hereaux and seminarians; ‘Self Awareness for discernment and discovery of one’s potential’ by Fr Urban Hudlin OP; and ‘Theology of the Body – Our bodies are sacred and to be respected’ by Fr Matthew Ragbir. —KJ