Archive for the 'Educators & Youth Leaders' Category

Last few blog posts

Dear Friends,

We thank you for visiting For Your Vocation blog! We will be taking the blog off-line. Please join our For Your Vocation Facebook Page, especially the “Notes” tab on the side, where we will continue to post thoughts and reflections on discerning a vocation to the priesthood and consecrated life.

Again, thank you!

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Truth

When Jesus is arrested and brought to trial on Good Friday, Pontius Pilate asks him, “What is truth?” (John 18:38) Have you ever wondered that? Not necessarily truth in the “big sense,” like the truth of humanity or the truth of the universe, but just plain-old everyday truth. Like whether or not you’re on the right path, whether you should “go for” the opportunity that just presented itself to you, whether your sense of how to live a moral life is on the up-and-up. What’s the truth of those situations? Is God happy with me and my life choices so far? Am I doing the right thing? Have I been following in the path God has marked out for me?

Trying to discern God’s movements in our lives is no easy task. It requires several things:
–a desire to know God’s movements
–an openness to noticing them
–a receptivity to accepting them and what they mean for my life
–a sense of courage to follow-through with the call or invitation of God
–a sense of humility to let go of my own agendas when God might be calling me away from them to something bigger.

This Sunday’s responsorial psalm is a beautiful plea to this God of ours: “Your ways, O Lord, make known to me; teach me your paths, guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior.” Might I suggest that you pray with this psalm prayer each day of the coming week, asking God to help you come to know him and his ways better. After all, who better to help us out with our big questions? He IS the Truth.

Living for the Lord

“For if we live, we live for the Lord,” says St. Paul (Rom 14:8) in this Sunday’s Second Reading. This is quite an examination of conscience for me. Is my living really “living for the Lord”? Is the way I choose to act, think, speak, and believe such that the Lord would want to say, “That’s mine!” Is the motivation and goal of my day-to-day living focused on God and what he had in mind when I was created in his image and likeness? And how in the world do I approach an answer to those kinds of questions?

I asked a six-year-old, “What do you think it means to ‘live for the Lord’?” He answered, “It means you should get a job in a church.” I asked a ninety-six year old, who answered, “It means, darlin’, that he’s your everything.” I asked a college student: “It probably means more than I care to think about right now.” I asked someone who has been hurt by the Church: “It means God is bigger than any mistakes I or anyone else might make.” I asked someone who’s given her life in service to the Church: “It means rising above the fray.” I asked a friend: “Living for the Lord is trying our best to live in love.”

So…with all the data in, I am challenged to answer the question myself. What does it mean to “live for the Lord”? I suppose it means receiving the gift of life God gives me each day, and spending it freely on whomever it is I encounter on that given day, transmitting to them the gift of life and love so freely given me.

What does it mean to you?

“I will be with you”

In yesterday’s liturgy (EX 3:1-6, 9-12), we read of Moses who stood in the presence of God, before the burning bush . Moses was afraid and didn’t understand what God was asking of him. Sometimes we don’t know to what God is calling us, but he simply wants our availability, “Here I am, Lord.”

I suppose its like being “Open 24 hours” – being ready to do the will of God always, trusting that even though we may not “know the way” (JN 14:4-5) or think we can accomplish what God is asking, he will help us do his will. The Lord won’t abandon us to fulfill his will, for “I will be with you (EX 3:12),” says the Lord.

Always near

I had a very strange set of circumstances happen last week: I got stuck in the Resurrection. Not a bad place to be, but I bet you’re wondering what exactly I mean. It goes like this. Last week, I found myself in St. Louis, an archdiocese that celebrates the Ascension on Sunday rather than Thursday. I returned on Saturday to my home diocese of Hartford, an archdiocese that celebrates the Ascension on Thursday rather than Sunday. So technically, I never had the chance to celebrate liturgically the feast of the Ascension—getting me “stuck” in the Resurrection, or more technically, getting the Resurrected Christ of my spiritual life “stuck” on earth without ascending to Heaven!

I spent quite a bit of time in those “interim days” pondering the Ascension readings and considering what would happen if Jesus had never “returned” to Heaven, but rather remained with us here “even until the end of time.” Part of me thinks that would be a pretty incredible reality—that every living human person from the moment of the Incarnation would have an opportunity to meet, touch, hear, see, and experience the risen Jesus “in the flesh.” Certainly the entire population of the world would believe in the Christ if we had the opportunity to experience him with our own eyes and ears. Right? Well…let’s think about that.

We do have that opportunity. He didn’t ascend and abandon us. He ascended and remained with us. The risen Body of Christ remains in our midst, both sacramentally in the Eucharist and incarnationally in us, the people of God who are His Body. Right there in the Ascension Gospel we read: “While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. They said, ‘Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky?’ ” Why are you looking for Jesus up there? Instead, look inside. Look around. You can’t miss him if you know what you’re looking for.

A friend of mine recently made an inadvertently comical statement as she tried to explain why she is sometimes difficult to reach. She said something like, “If I’m not here, I’m somewhere else. But no matter where I am, I’m always somewhere.” Funny, right? Maybe…but not if we consider it from the point of view of the risen, ascended, always-present Christ. He’s always somewhere nearby—nearer to us than we are to our very selves. Happy Ascension.

Seeing Christ in Others

This is a wonderful video! Sister Eva Maria of the Little Sisters of the Poor shares with us a few lessons she has learned since she professed her vows in 2002. One lesson in particular struck me: “The more you get to know Christ in prayer, and accept him in your heart, the more you’ll recognize him in those around you.”

To be a priest or consecrated person means that we really must have a desire to serve Jesus Christ in others. It is very tempting to do something for another person with the motivation of looking good in someone else’s eyes or for our own glory. In fact, true service in charity can be at times very counter-cultural….helping someone else in their need may require patience, understanding, and a willingness to do what they cannot do for themselves. Helping another person in need gives us the opportunity to focus our attention on someone outside ourselves and to seek Christ who lives in them and gives them dignity.

May Our Lord give us the grace to love another person today and see Him in them.

The video clip was taken from “Everyone has a Vocation to Love: Whats Yours? The Vocation to the Religious Life for Women” by the Knights of Columbus.

Just do it.

We read that when Jesus called Peter, Andrew, James, and John, they responded immediately (MT 4:18-22). As I read this passaged I was very struck by the immediacy with which they acted. There was no hesitation, no rebuttal, no second-guessing…just action.

Its helpful to reflect on the way the Apostles responded and check my own responses throughout the ordinary situations in my life: waking up in the morning, how many times have I turned the alarm off and went back to sleep? Have I put off studying for a assignment or test that I know is coming up in school? Or have I even put off a chore that my parents or supervisor asked me to do?

Procrastinating is delaying or putting off something that should be done now. If you experience a “stir” within your heart about the priesthood or consecrated life, respond to it, act on it, ask your parish priest about it. St. Thomas Aquinas teaches, “It is praiseworthy to act quickly after taking counsel, which is an act of reason (II-II, Q. 127, a. 1).” Simply asking for more information doesn’t commit yourself to the priesthood or consecrated for ever; it just helps you answer the questions you have about it so you can respond to the promptings with reason. Don’t ignore it or let endless questions about it plague your mind. An old phrase from a “Nike” tennis shoes commercial come to mind: “Just do it.” We all have a responsibility to grow in our Catholic faith and in the spiritual life, but we can’t do it alone. The Church provides guides for us, to help us discern our vocation and live out our Christian call. Ask the questions; it won’t hurt.

May Our Lord strengthen you today to respond to His grace.



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