It is interesting to read the Irish printed media this weekend - particularly their take on participation in the various Holy Week and Easter ceremonies in Ireland these days. It is acknowledged by the main newspapers that there is an increase in the numbers of people attending religious services this year. The suggestion is that the economic recession and the downturn in the economy is in part responsible for this. There may be some element of truth in this, though I am not sure. There is a general acceptance though that with all of the difficulty that we are experiencing, people are beginning to ask the bigger questions. What has God, faith and religion to offer in these straitened times and can some answers be given about the immense waste of wealth that was ammased in the past ten years? In turning to God, we will find not the answers to our economic questions but a reminder that God is always close to us when we call upon him. In the good times, the easy option is to forget, indeed even ignore God.
In a similar vein, if I were offered a euro for every time that I have heard it said to me that the recession will be good for vocations - then I would certainly be a rich man. The suggestion is that when people find themselves unemployed, or experience difficulty in obtaining work that they will automatically turn to God and consider a vocation. This is not my experience at all. Of all those who are currently discerning their call to the Dominican way of life in this country there is no evidence to suggest that they are doing so because of the recession. In fact it strikes me that the majority of them are secure in professional employment or engaged in various academic activities and that the question of vocation is an option for them where they will be leaving much behind to consider following the Lord in the Dominican way.