3rd Thursday of Lent: What Divides Us is a Lesser View of our Vocation

One of the greatest tragedies which affects the Roman Catholic priesthood (and I’m sure most if not all consecrated & religious vocations) is false recognition of what is “required” of the man who is called to the priesthood, or of the man or woman called to consecrated religious life.  For many of us, we’ve bought into the many things which we hear all around us of why men & women ought not to consider these vocations, and often times there is a sentiment that the men and women who do consider them are those who couldn’t find love in the world; that priesthood and religious life often is a “fall back plan” for those who haven’t found love in the world.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  But as we hear Jesus “accused” of being a messenger of Satan, and He responds to the religious leader with logic and rational thinking – so too must this line of thinking be stopped with rational, logical thought when it comes to priesthood & religious life.  When men present themselves in the Office of Vocations with this kind of thinking, I assure them that priesthood is not ever a fall-back plan, and if they view it that way – they view it incorrectly!  It is every bit a loving, committed, life-giving, relational commitment as marriage; and if we view it as anything else, than we need to go deeper and we need to see the priesthood for what it really is, not what we think it to be.  If we had any number of priests who viewed priesthood this way, then we would have a much less vibrant, divided, empty priesthood and by extension Church and faith.  Priesthood is not for everyone, I know that’s true.  There are challenges to the chaste & celibate life that not every man can live, and this is true too.  The man who is called to be a priest or the woman or man called to a religious vocation must be able to see love on the deepest level and be fully and totally committed to loving with unbelievable intimacy; but not in one person alone; he or she must intimately love our Lord Himself and His people so deeply that he or she can commit His life in total gift of him or herself to loving.  It’s a beautiful gift and a total gift we can give through our vocation in this way; to think of it as any less divides us and makes us all less than we can be.  May God bless you.

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