Tonight is the Archbishop's Annual Vocation Dinner. It's a dinner for young men who are interested in looking closer at priesthood. As the men file into the Archbishop's residence, the scene is marked with an air of uncertainty: some of the men are uncertain as to why they're there (some are there because someone else has dobbed them in), some are uncertain about priesthood; and even some are uncertain about the direction of their life.
Uncertainty is a feeling most of us are familiar with. It's also a feeling most of us are uncomfortable with. In a world where a Google search is just a few keyboard strokes away, we don't cope so well when we don't have answers readily available to us.
I think answers are overrated. Or at least we've overestimated the value we've placed on answers. As I often say to young people: it's not about knowing the answer, it's about knowing to ask the question.
One of my favourite movies is I Robot. In a futuristic world where robots play a major role in society, Will Smith portrays Homicide Detective Spooner, who is investigating the suspicious "suicide" of Dr Alfred Lanning. Lanning leaves an interactive holographic message for Spooner. The hologram has clues about the case, but Spooner must ask "the right question".
Whether or not you've seen the movie, there's a lesson we can draw from it. The answers we receive are a reflection of the questions we ask. Ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer! Uncertainty isn't a bad thing...as long as we're asking the right questions. While it's important to question what job or career path lies ahead of us, it's much more important to ask (regardless of which path we follow) "what sort of person am I called to be?"
The challenge for us is to not let our discomfort with uncertainty prevent us from asking the BIG questions. When we're real and honest with ourselves and with God, the answers will come. And when we arrive at those answers, we want to be ready for them. That readiness is dependent on embracing the questions, the uncertainty and the discomfort.
At the end of the day, what our world and our church needs is people who have embraced their call. We can only fully embrace our call if we've fully embraced the questions. Hopefully, tonight a group of young men will confront that uncertainty and embrace their call.