This front bulletin article has often dealt with the marriage vocation and its joys and challenges. So I’m feeling free this Sunday (World Day of Prayer for Vocations) to write to you specifically about the vocation to the priesthood and religious life (sisterhood).
Over the years of vocation work I’ve come to see some common interior experiences in young men thinking about the priesthood. Let me share them with you.
***These same points apply to a young woman considering a vocation to the sisterhood (change #4 to fit the life of a sister)***
- A persistent fascination with the idea of becoming a priest. It’s hard to explain but the thought of being a priest just keeps buzzing around in a fellows head. While others are looking for that “special girl” or saving for that hot car – – this guy is imagining wearing a collar!!
- A strong experience of God and the truth that is in the Catholic Faith. This young man has felt God in his life (sometimes in church, sometimes on the sport field, sometimes in moments of crisis). He’s sure that God is helping him in life and the Catholic Church is the place to find Him.
- A vague desire to do something extreme for God. (It’s kinda like the “Spiritual X-Games!”) There’s a certain recklessness about this way of life; like bungee jumping or sky diving, you’re all in. But it’s for God!
- A habit of observing priests. Listening to a homily for example, this young man says to himself, “I could have done better than that. That priest never really got to me. Here’s what I would have said . . .
- If not me . . . then who? Look, we all agree “someone needs to step up here. We need priests.” Okay. But who should it be? “Not me!”, most say. Okay then who? After all YOU saw the need. YOU want a priest for your parish. Then why shouldn’t it be . . . YOU?!
- People keep telling me (some people I don’t even know) that I’d make a good priest. Go figure eh? They must see something in you that reminds them of what a good priest looks like.
These six experiences (there are others of course) come as a gift of God’s grace. In other words these young people don’t create them. They just happen. They come as a surprise.
I remember a priest coming up to me after college saying, “When are you going to stop talking about life and start living it the way God has called you?” I knew he was talking about the priesthood and getting myself started in the seminary.
I was very angry when he said this. “Who are you to tell me what to do?” (He wasn’t of course. He was challenging me to put my actions where my mouth was.) With time to look back I see it now as a grace from God making me look more deeply into what were other signs of priesthood.
So what can we do to help young people discover their vocation? Ask them what they feel God (not their guidance counselor) may be calling them to do. Tell them the gifts you see in them – gifts God gave them to make this a better world. Tell them you pray for them. You pray they find God’s special path. (Jesus specifically asked that we pray for this. Mt. 9:38)
God bless our young men and women with the grace to hear His call.
Easter blessings still.
The Art of Marriage:
Guiding Children in a Complicated Culture
The Importance of Raising a Well-Balanced Child
Does it seem like:
- The cell phone you gave your child is the source of a continuous argument?
- Keeping faith at the top of the list of family priorities is too difficult?
- The travel team is running your life?
- The children are tense and in tears and they don’t know why?
- Your spouse and you are arguing about discipline (strict or lenient)?
Sue Thompson, a Social Worker for the Webster Central School District, will be discussing the increase in anxiety and depression plaguing our school age children. She will share with parents the importance of working together in raising their children and positive parenting techniques in these complicated times. Informed parents are able to make better decisions that will ultimately affect young lives; therefore, all adults responsible for guiding our children are encouraged to attend.
There will be time for questions at the end of the presentation.
Sunday, May 21, 2017
Light refreshments will be served.