Sometimes we are so set in our ways, that the truth and reality misses us. We all have a way we see things. The Christian is called to a new paradigm; to see things differently, not changing the reality, but changing our own attitude and disposition towards reality. To be able to see someone we know well and to discourage them or mock them because they consider a religious vocation [and we’ve known them to live a “whole different life”] can have a lasting and negative OR a lasting and positive impact on the people near and dear to us. I am one of those people. I was so convinced that my friends would think I was crazy when I became a Catholic at 32 in 2003 or when I entered seminary and was on the road to becoming a priest in 2005. My friends did find it confusing, but they didn’t say a whole lot to me, because they realized that this was the wrong thing to do. Instead, we eventually talked about it and many years later, there is more clarity for all of us (still much mystery as well) around what makes a man who never had God in his life, give his life over to God and know his life was meant to be lived as a priest. As I meet with so many others who are beginning to experience their vocational calling, the people who are closest to them can have the greatest impact on their vocational discernment. This is why it’s so important that families especially are open and support religious vocational discernment. It’s natural not to. Jesus’ own closest friends and perhaps his extended family members could not believe who He was or what He came to do. The reality was that He was the Son of God; those who believed were able to embrace the reality; those who didn’t could never be convinced. Likewise, if we doubt God’s enabling someone whom we’ve seen human frailty in – then we are not going to be convinced, because our family member or friend will always be a weak human instrument, even when God chooses to use him or her in a powerful way. Just ask Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI (these were his words) or Mother Teresa, or St. John Paul II. Just ask the man or woman the Lord is using now. What you see is not always what you get.