Although I have spoken on patience, and patience is certainly necessary for waiting, this concept of which I am about to speak is not patience. Many times God answers our prayers about our vocations with a continual "wait and pray." Why? Why not just tell us our vocations? The answer seems simple enough, but it is not always thoroughly understood.
If you as young people of today about their vocations, most will tell you that they are waiting... waiting for what? Waiting for God to tell them what to do, for some opportunity to arise that will make their vocations obvious, waiting for faith and strength to make a decision... many things. But is it right to call this waiting? Many of the saints did not find their vocations until they had spent years waiting and praying. For instance, St. Benedict lived as a hermit before he realized his call to monasticism. Does that mean that they lived their vocations for only part of their adult lives? Of course not... only by waiting and praying can we reach the immense heights of sanctity which only God can bring us to. Therefore, there is more to waiting and praying than we first acknowledge.
What is waiting? Waiting is following daily the path of a currently undefined vocation with the hope of reaching it. Likewise, praying in this case means to put our trust in God, that He will guide our lives and show us our vocations when we are finally ready. This is a form of "current vocation"... a non-committed vocation. If you are seeking your vocation but find that the only answer God is willing to give you is "wait and pray," recognize that He is not asking you to be dormant by negatively refraining from activity, but rather He is asking you to make a positive effort to wait and pray, for that is your current vocation and is quite as important as your committed one.
During Lent God calls us to wait and pray for forty days, just as He does quite often during our lives even after we are in a committed vocation. We don't know the future and, in spite of all our plans, have no idea where we stand and where we are headed. It is important to utilize times, such as this season of Lent, to remember the importance of waiting and praying. We must always be ready to make a positive effort to walk in God's providence, even unto the unknown. For instance, perhaps we have no idea how our prayer, fasting, and penances now will affect us later... but we pray that it is accepted by God and used for our personal betterment and for the help of others.
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
~An Old Irish Blessing