3rd Sunday of Lent: The Lord Feeds our Thirst to be Extraordinary

We often put discernment of priesthood or religious life out of our mind as a possible vocation or something to consider because we can see only a certain type of person doing that; someone much holier than ourselves, someone who has desired these religious vocations almost from the womb, someone of a certain ilk.  Not only was this my own misconception before I began my own discernment, but I see and hear this often with the men and women I work with and discern with in the Office of Vocations.  This is not the case.  The qualities we look for in men open to discerning the priesthood or men and women open to discerning religious life are not qualities which are reserved to only a few, but qualities that all of us ought to aspire to as Christians on the path to holiness.  Sainthood is the vocation we are all called to, and as Christians we must always remember that the Lord Himself set the bar to that highest place, and although we may not always meet the mark, we must always aspire to reach it.  We cannot ever seek to lower it to suit our desire to reach it.  What I mean by this is that we are all called by the Lord and in our faith to be absolutely all that we can be [since the Canadian Forces uses this slogan: it sounds cliché, but it’s the slogans Christians must adopt for themselves].  In the Gospel today [we use this Gospel in solidarity with our brothers & sisters who receive today the First Scrutiny in the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults] we hear of the Samarian woman at the well who has a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ, an encounter that begins for her in a cryptic way; she seeks water at the well, Jesus compels her to reach out for more and leads to her conversion and her evangelization of others.  When she carried her jugs to the well that day, how could she have known that this simple, ordinary event would lead to the most extraordinary and life-changing encounter of her entire life?  She couldn’t.  Neither can our brothers and sisters who have stayed with us week after week and prepared through catechesis to be received into the Church at Easter.  But when I say that we are in solidarity with them, we too must look within the ordinariness of our own lives and seek by faith the extraordinary encounter with our Lord and Saviour.  Life for the Christian is not mundane, ordinary – it is radical, it is extraordinary always and in everything that we do.  The vocation of marriage is lived in a radical way; with God at the centre of our lives and giving ourselves as a total gift of ourselves for each other, Christian marriages are the bedrock of all other vocations within the Church.  In my role as Vocation Director, I pray for Christian marriages because it’s in these marriages that all other vocations are born, nourished & cultivated, supported and where they flourish.

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