Hope, Love, Peace, and Joy

Peace Hope Love Joy: Christmas Spirit Card

During Advent, many families around the world have an Advent Wreath in their homes.  The Advent Wreath represents the four weeks preceding Christmas.  Each week one of the candles is lit until the fourth. The four candles of the Advent Wreath are said to symbolize the four virtues of hope, love, joy, and peace.  An Advent practice could be a person taking time to reflect how they will demonstrate the specific week’s virtue so as to serve a world in need.  Here are a few examples:

Hope – visit a nursing home, participate in a project for the homeless

Love – send a note to a family member or friend that is struggling,

Joy – volunteer to assist at a shelter, donate to charities providing toys for the little ones

Peace – create a peace pause moment in your daily routines, decide to be a peaceful presence

Advent Journey

The vocation journey is an advent journey.

A journey through the darkness.

A journey of hope.

A journey with Christ, into Christ.

The vocation journey is a journey into the fullness.

Advent is the season of graced expectation, the season of waiting. Our experiences of waiting range from the mind-numbing wait in traffic to the excited expectation of a relative or friend, coming through the arrival doors at an airport.

Sometimes the wait is experienced as deadening, as a waste of time and energy, mere frustration. Sometimes the wait is experienced as anticipation, a kind of foretaste, almost a part of the actual joy of encounter. These are two very different experiences of waiting!

Advent is a period of graced expectation. The liturgy of Advent is full of promise.

‘Advent is your season!’ Advent liturgies, advent prophesies and haunting advent hymns are speaking about the necessary, graced wait, by means of which God prepares us for a wonderful gift! Live this time of waiting with expectation, with joy, and with trust.

Call to charism to community

Webinar | Sept. 30, 2021 at 8 p.m. Eastern

Fundamentals from call to charism to community living

Tune in on September 30, 2021 at 8 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. CT/ 6 p.m. MT/ 5 p.m. PT to gain insight on religious life today.

The hour-long format is simple, four outstanding speakers will share their insights and then welcome questions from participants. 

The webinar is free, but you must register to participate or to receive an on-demand link following the session. 

Click here to Register


We appreciate your help promoting the event!

Featured Panelists

Sr. Julie Vieira, I.H.M.
Basic steps in discerning God’s call

Sr. Katia Chavez, S.J.S. 
Different forms of consecrated life (e.g., apostolic, monastic, cloistered/contemplative; missionary)

Fr. Luis Romero, C.M.
Community living as an essential part of religious life

Br. Kyle Mena, F.S.C.
Charisms and ministries of men and women in religious life

Prayer for Vocations

On this world day of prayer for Vocations during the year of St. Joseph, Pope Francis suggests that there are three key ways in which Joseph is a guide for our vocation:

The first word is the Dream. Everyone dreams of finding fulfilment in life. We rightly nurture great hopes, lofty aspirations that ephemeral goals – like success, money and entertainment – cannot satisfy. If we were to ask people to express in one word their life’s dream, it would not be difficult to imagine the answer: “to be loved”. It is love that gives meaning to life, because it reveals life’s mystery. Indeed, we only have life if we give it; we truly possess it only if we generously give it away. Saint Joseph has much to tell us in this regard, because, through the dreams that God inspired in him, he made of his life a gift.

World Day of Prayer for Vocations | Pray for Vocations!

The second word is Service. The Gospels show how Joseph lived entirely for others. The holy people of God invoke Joseph as the most chaste spouse, based on his ability to love unreservedly. By freeing love from all possessiveness, Joseph became open to an even more fruitful service. His loving care has spanned generations; his attentive guardianship has made him patron of the Church. As one who knew how to embody the meaning of self-giving in life, Joseph is also the patron of a happy death. His service and sacrifices were only possible, however, because they were sustained by a greater love: “Every true vocation is born of the gift of oneself.”

The third word is Fidelity. Joseph is the “righteous one” (Mt 1:19) who daily perseveres in quietly serving God and God’s plans. At a particularly difficult moment in his life, he thoughtfully considered what to do (cf. v. 20). He did not let himself be hastily pressured. He did not yield to the temptation to act rashly, simply following his instincts or living for the moment. Instead, he pondered things patiently. He knew that success in life is built on constant fidelity to important decisions. This was reflected in his perseverance in plying the trade of a humble carpenter (cf. Mt 13:55), a quiet perseverance that made no news in his own time, yet has inspired the daily lives of countless fathers, labourers and Christians ever since. For a vocation – like life itself – matures only through daily fidelity.

Let us pray that all will experience the joy of vocation in lofty dreams, in humble service and sincere fidelity to their vocation.

May God bless those who have generously made God the dream of their lives, serving God in their brothers and sisters through a fidelity that is a powerful testimony and a source of lasting joy.

May Saint Joseph, protector of vocations, accompany you on your journey!

What It Takes

Over the years, we have identified some skills and traits that are helpful to religious life. These include:

  • strong self-esteem,
  • flexibility,
  • effective communication skills,
  • an ability to compromise,
  • willingness to address conflict,
  • tolerance of differences and imperfections,
  • positive self-care,
  • and a heart for forgiveness and gratitude.

These skills will stand a person in good stead in any walk of life, and they are particularly important to foster and strengthen community living that is at the heart of religious life. For all of us, personal growth is a lifetime project. Along with our efforts to grow in spirituality and in apostolic generosity, we also seek to grow as well-rounded, mature human beings. We seek to grow into all that God intended for us to be.

As you ponder your vocation, ask yourself if you have these skills and traits and if your desire growth in them. This may help you to understand your capacity to live in a community with others in religious life, or in any other community.