Class: Theology II
May 19th was joyous day for the Archdiocese as six men were ordained to the priesthood. Worth celebrating were all the sacrifices, hard work, and dedication that these men demonstrated in their priestly studies and their willingness to offer themselves to God. But, most importantly it was occasion to celebrate the gift of God’s graces that were poured forth into each of our new priests. God’s glorious plan of salvation allows these men to be ministers of His sacraments enabling Christ’s life to present within us.
One of the peculiar things about so many vocation stories is the initial resistance to the idea of religious life. If there wasn’t a sense of sacrifice, then maybe we wouldn’t appreciate the gift of our calling once we finally did get around to responding to it.
My story is very familiar in this regard. In high school the idea of priestly vocation first occurred to me. A life of service devoted to God was both appealing and scary at the same time. My first response was to avoid thinking about it. When that didn’t work, I then choose to postpone a vocation decision for as long as I could. Fortunately God was a very patient and persistent suitor who never let get me too far afield. He respected my free will and allowed me to pursue my own plan for life until I was finally ready to accept Him.
The reasons for fearing a vocation were numerous. Now those previous apprehensions seem as irrational as my childhood fears of monsters under the bed and boogie men lurking in the basement. The difference is really rooted in my improved relationship with God. Trusting in His providence allows me to live in the moment and freely commit myself to His will. I’m at peace and have a better sense of connection with others.
Previously, you could have called me a stoic. Life was something to be endured and you just made the best of it. Today, I would affirm that life is worth living.
The heart of the priestly vocation is all about a living relationship with God. The visible aspects can seem onerous and burdensome. You’re giving up a family, accepting numerous responsibilities, and taking on the expectation to be the moral foundation for your parishioners. Without the eyes of faith it can seem to be more than any person can bear. With the eyes of faith, one recognizes that it’s only possible with God’s help. Christ is victorious and actively working in people’s lives.
God doesn’t expect you to have all the answers. Instead he wants you to participate in His plan for others. This starts with a deep personal prayer life that manifests itself visibly in the service to others. When responding to the grace of God, things that once seemed impossible are not only possible but also joyful. It is a real relationship that involves giving, receiving, growing, and loving.
Jesus Waits for Us in this Sacrament of Love