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A focus on vocations to the priesthood – 2.2 Maturity & Commitment

It is so common to hear complaints coming from vocation directors or religious directors that the problem of young people today is that they cannot make a commitment. They are immature. This is true for the young people in Vancouver. Fr. Brett Brannen, the Vocation Director of the Diocese Savannah, Georgia through his experience working with young people commented that the “resistance to commitment is a common condition in our present culture, and The United States today could be called the Land of Perpetual Adolescence.” (B. A. Brannen, To Save a Thousand Souls, Georgia 2010, 72). Not that these young people do not want to grow up, but it is more increasingly difficult to do so when they are so deformed by the culture that preaches to keep their options open and do not commit to anything or anyone; the society that persuades them to make lots of money and accumulate toys; a civilization that screams at them to not give up their freedom so that they can enjoy life and have a good time without responsibility. It is a culture of “free choice”.

Youth formators also agree that it is very hard to motivate the youth to commit to an activity, project, or an idea. This is the symptom of the contemporary young generation who relies on instant gratification as the basis for making decision. Choices being made primarily beneficial to the self with the least efforts possible. It is the selfcentered generation “I”: i-pod, ipad, i-phone, i-player, i-tunes, i-tv, i-google, etc. They are programmed to avoid the choices that require elements of making sacrifices: such as a choice that benefits the common good. They avoid activities that require efforts and turn to immediate and short term entertainment such as computer, TV, videos etc. The young forever more is incapable of moving forward or at least being delayed to develop different stages of human growth: egocentric, philanthropic, and transcendental. Their development is being blocked by this individualistic society, and they live their lives based on this self-centred level which is purely subjective. Fr. Imoda describes this blockage as a condition of immaturity.

Concretely, only those criteria which express respect for the reality of personal mystery can constitute valid criteria of development, and hence of maturity – even psychological. Consequently, such criteria must contain a willingness to deal with the otherness which is found at every step of human development, in such a way as to respect to the utmost the presence of both poles. As one example amongst many relating to personal maturity and immaturity, we could think of those forms of immaturity deriving from an aggravated subjectivism, which are incapable of reaching any objective criterion apart from that of the immediate and partial perspective of self-interest. The same applies to immaturity deriving from objectivism which has an authoritarian or extrinsicist stamp, and which never succeeds in appreciating the value of personal appropriation and interiorization of the true and the good. (F. Imoda, Human Development: Psychology and Mystery, Belgium 1998, 75).