Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Visitation

One of the questions regarding late vocations is "how late is late?" Some religious orders have a cut-off age of 35 or so. They want young postulants and novices because of the time needed not only for spiritual formation but also formation in the community. Diocesan vocations tend to be more flexible. 40 seems to be the usual cut-off age, but they will often consider older candidates who are well qualified.

Today, May 31st, is the Feast of the Visitation. Elizabeth, who was 6 months pregnant when Mary came to visit her, was an older woman. She had been barren, but the Lord had blessed her to be the mother of John the Baptist. Luke writes that Elizabeth was well "advanced in years". Her fruitfulness came late in her life! "Nothing is impossible with God" (Luke 1:37). Every time we pray the Hail Mary, we remember Elizabeth's words to Mary, "Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb!" (Luke 1:42).

If Elizabeth and her husband Zachariah, a Levitical priest, could bring forth life in their later years, giving birth to John the Baptist, then clearly God is not limited by our mortal lifetime. It is never too late with God!