When I was in high school I thought I was supposed to be priest. My reasoning was pretty simple. I wanted to be holy. I thought the easiest way to be holy was to be a priest.
As I got older, I realized any version of holiness that seemed easy probably wasn’t really holiness. I came to understand that every person is called to be holy. Holiness sounds like an intimidating concept, but I think the simplest definition of holiness is to be the person God created you to be. As I prayed and thought about the priesthood, I realized priesthood was not something that God was calling me to. If that wasn’t what God was calling me to, I shouldn’t be a priest because that’s not what I was created for. I don’t regret taking time in my life to discern priesthood; in fact, I think it makes me more committed in my present day vocation to be a husband and father in marriage.
Too many men in our world have no real sense of calling. They are really living from day to day waiting for the next escape from their normal routines. What if we lived lives that we didn’t need to escape from?
There are some universal things we believe when it comes to vocations. We are all called to holiness. We are called to love. In the Vatican II document Gadium et Spes, we read that not only does Jesus fully reveal God to us, he also “fully reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear.” As men we need to work to build a culture of vocations. Imagine what the world would look if every Catholic man knew that God had a calling on his life and he knew what that was.
Here are 3 ways each and every man can help promote vocations:
Know Jesus and his calling on your life. If we don’t know Jesus we will also not fully know ourselves. His transforming love allows us to see who we are and who we are called to be. Every one of us has a vocation because God has a calling for us. If you are single, have you taken time to discern the priesthood? I hope that every Catholic man takes at least some period of time in their lives to ask themselves and God if they might be called to be priest. We live in world where the spiritual battle is real. Is God calling you to put on the armor and be a priest? If you are married do you live in a way your marriage points people to God’s love? God calls those of us in the vocation of marriage to let our marriages be a visible sign of his love for the world.
Pray for holy vocations. Let’s commit in real ways to pray for holy marriages, holy religious sisters, and holy priests. If we have holy marriages we will raise more holy priests from our families. If you are married, pray with your kids for both our current priests and those considering the priesthood.
Support guys that are considering vocations. To be clear this doesn’t mean announcing that “John Doe” is going to be a priest. It might mean just simply asking someone if they have ever thought about being a priest (a study found that people who have at least one person encouraging them are twice as likely to consider a vocation to the priesthood). It’s best to invite young men to consider being a priest verses telling them they should be a priest. Another simple way to support guys is that when you know a guy is considering the priesthood, pray for them by name and even pray with them.
There are two great upcoming opportunities to promote a culture of vocations in our diocese: