Vocation and Profession
Fr. Gonzales also explained to the young Lay Dominicans that their profession is subordinate to their vocation. “Profession is something we choose for ourselves,” he said, “but vocation is something that God wills for us.” Fr. Gonzales invited the young professionals to let their God-given vocation be a compass in all aspects of their daily life. “In your profession you will certainly have to retire one day,” he said, “but you cannot retire from your vocation.”
He also added that at the end of their lives, God will not ask them how many academic or professional achievements they gained, but how they lived and loved through their vocation.
Still, one’s profession must be viewed as a gift from the Lord because it can be highly instrumental in fulfilling one’s vocation. He explained that profession implants a person in the world, enabling him/her to penetrate the world more deeply —including its different aspects and strata— putting him/her in a favorable position to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Problems vs. Difficulties
Fr. Gonzales called to remembrance one of the important messages of the cross of Jesus Christ: life will not be without its difficulties, and it is through suffering that Christians are able to grow more in love of God and of neighbor. He invited the young Lay Dominicans to always see and reflect on human life in the light of the cross of Christ. “Problems are different from difficulties,” Fr. Gonzales said. He explained that problems have solutions while difficulties require Christians to bear them patiently. In life, it is necessary to be able to identify which are problems and which are difficulties. Christians must not be afraid to endure suffering because this is the narrow way to heaven, as Jesus Himself has shown through His example.
Meanwhile, Dr. Belén L. Tangco OP, formator of the Young Thomasian Professionals (also President of the Provincial Council of the Laity - Philippine Province and Asia-Pacific Coordinator to the International Council of Lay Dominican Fraternities), expressed her heartfelt gratitude to Fr. Gonzales who has been the group’s retreat master for years. Once again, she emphasized to the young Lay Dominicans the significance of spending some time, withdrawn from the rigors and the noise of the world, evaluating themselves and strengthening their relationship with God.
In relation to this, Fr. Gonzales also stressed the importance of constant prayer. Citing Christ’s command for us “to pray without ceasing” (Luke 18:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:17), Fr. Gonzales said prayer is an unfaltering connection with the Lord. When people lose prayer in their lives, then they are most certainly poised to lose their fight against evil. Persistence in prayer, he pointed out, is essential to daily survival. “Always pray. Whenever you find it so hard to pray, that’s reason for you to pray more,” he said.
The Young Thomasian Professionals Lay Dominican fraternity accepts applicants year-round. It is a chapter-in-formation that primarily caters to university students and young professionals. For more information, visit their website at www.laydominicanytp.org.