Op bezoek bij het internationaal Amsterdams studentenpastoraat

Wat is roeping en hoe weet je dat je geroepen bent?

Overweging Preek - gepubliceerd: zondag, 21 januari 2024 - 1232 woorden

Zater­dag 20 januari heb ik een bezoek gebracht aan het inter­na­tio­naal stu­den­ten­pas­to­raat in Am­ster­dam. De voer­taal was Engels, maar de stu­den­ten kwamen uit allerlei lan­den, waar­on­der ook Neder­land, Ecuador, Italië, Kroatië, Brazilië, Polen, Syrië, Egypte. Zowel in de heilige Mis als in de ont­moe­ting daarna, ging het over roe­ping. Wat is roe­ping? Heeft ie­der­een een roe­ping? Hoe weet je wat je roe­ping is?

De ont­moe­ting begon met de heilige Mis in de Onze Lieve Vrouwe­kerk aan de Keizers­gracht in Am­ster­dam; voor en tij­dens de Mis was er biecht­gele­gen­heid waar veel gebruik van werd gemaakt; daarna was er een "potluckdinner" en een gesprek waarin ie­der­een vragen kon stellen rond het thema van de avond.
Het bij­zon­dere vond ik al dat de groep van zo'n tach­tig kerk­gan­gers bijna alleen uit jon­ge­ren bestond. Dertig van hen bleven ook voor het gesprek en de maal­tijd. Het was allemaal zeer geanimeerd. Pries­ter Eugen Graas draagt zorg voor het stu­den­ten­pas­to­raat, ook de rector van de kerk kan. Rafael Ojeda was bij de avond aanwe­zig..





We will all have had some moments in our lives when we clearly felt: this is what I have to do! Such a moment is there when something comes your way, you get a certain inspiration or feel an inner pull to do something. It could be anything. I could give all kinds of examples; for example, that moment is there when someone feels: I should become a caregiver for a dear parent, family member or friend, I feel drawn to participate in work for the homeless, I feel that it is good for me to become a volun­teer, to do more with my faith, to pray more and so on and so forth.

Take it seriously

Such an inner pull toward something beautiful and good, is there when something appeals to us; that is something we should always take seriously and explore: Is this what God is asking of me? Is this beautiful challenge on my path? This inner appeal is always about something good to do - if you are able to - something beautiful for another person or for Christ and the Church.


For example, our parishes are supported by numerous volun­teers. Without volun­teers it does not work. If a church has to close, it is always partly because of the lack of volun­teers. A living, powerful community is created through grace in the first place of course and through the efforts of the priests, deacons, cate­chists or pas­to­ral workers, other staff and countless volun­teers. No, we must not leave the priests alone, we must support them. It is a joy for a priest to be in communion with others who cooperate with him positively, creatively and from a deep faith.


This inner attraction, this inspiration to do something beautiful, we may safely call it “vocation”. We all have a vocation; sure, not everyone knows his or her vocation, because it sometimes takes an effort to discern it properly, but we all have a vocation. And your life will reach its fulfil­ment if you are able to discern and follow this vocation. There is the core of your life!

The wrong side

Of course, you can also be called or drawn to something wrong. We all have this problem. For example, we may not feel like doing something and so we don't do it, or leave something out because it takes some effort anyway, or we get discouraged. But all good things in life require our faithfulness and perseverance. Keep going, stay faithful, stick to your good choices.
I spoke to an attorney this week who assists many individuals who have stolen something or caused des­truction, committed domestic violence, abuse or other transgressive behavior. "They are actually almost all nice people," said that lawyer, "only: they do the wrong things, often because of drin­king or drugs or a particular need."

Fresh start

Similarly, it can happen to us, even if we do not engage in criminal behavior, that we are drawn to something that is actually not right and do the wrong things, for example, out of weakness, anger, lust, greed or to find a solution to the problems we are in. But it is important to always be honest, straightforward and transparent and choose what is true and good, faithful and just. But don’t get discouraged, always give yourself a fresh start through confession.


Is it the Lord calling me or is it a little devil sit­ting on my shoul­der? It is very important to discern, but if we are inwardly convinced that it is something good and something beautiful that has been placed in our path, then we should do it, because then it is the Lord who is calling us.


In today’s gospel we heard about the first disciples of Jesus. They were fishermen. They were used to being free and doing their own thing. That was their life. But then Jesus came along: He walked by the Sea of Galilee where the disciples were going about their fishing business. The Lord was calling them, and they couldn't help but feel in their hearts that this was the voice of God entrus­ting them with a life calling. They did not hesitate. They got up and went along and followed Jesus. That one moment when they felt what they had to do, understood their calling and acted on it: what an impact this had on their lives, on church and Christianity and all of history! It was just in that one moment that they did not let themselves remain passive, did not hesitate, did not hold back, but courageously left everything behind, not kno­wing what the future would bring them. One good choice you make, can have an enormous power in your life!


What does the Lord ask of me? Good Lord, what must I do? It is this question that we may ask ourselves in all kinds of circumstances, because only if we dare to ask ourselves this question honestly will we be able to discover what God has set aside for us, what will give fulfill­ment to our lives, and therefore what will make us happy.
The more we are generous as human beings and as Christians, willing to give and to donate our time, money, love, attention: the more we do that, the more we will begin to find our vocation and destiny. A generous heart can receive the most beautiful gifts!

Leaving the fishing boat   

Jesus called his disciples to become fishers of men. The Fathers here, like so many other priests, once felt called to start a whole new life and give themselves and their whole life, in the service of Christ and the Church. They left the life they had before, which was like their fishing boat, to become a fisherman of people. Please support your priests, with your faith, with your commit­ment to church life and to the proclamation of the Gospel. And something like that we are all called to do: what is my “fishing boat”, my private life, my own treasure? What do I have to leave behind, what step do I have to take?
With all my heart, I wish all of you God's bles­sing for that step!


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