Archive for the 'General' 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!

World Youth Day

“Planted and built up in Jesus Christ, firm in the faith”

The theme for World Youth Day 2011, taken from St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians (2:7), is rather striking. If you take a moment to read the passages of scripture that come just before and after this verse, you can see that St. Paul is warning his readers and encouraging them to be determined believers in Jesus Christ. As one who believes in Jesus Christ, you will experience persons who will want to “deceive you by specious arguments (2:4), or to “captivate you with an empty, seductive philosophy according to human tradition, according to the elemental powers of the world and not according to Christ (2:8).” Using the gifts of Faith, Hope and Love that you received in Baptism are powers of the soul that can be excercised against deception. Faith is a light that shines in our minds to see the truth; hope is striving for the good we do not yet possess and enduring hardship to reach that good, and love – of God and for God – is the reason why we believe and hope in Jesus Christ.

The powers identified by Paul will tempt us to believe something less than what is true, or to love what is not trully good for us. Making a spiritual pilgrimage to Madrid, Spain will strengthen each of us to recognize and commit ourselves to Jesus Christ, who is the Way, Truth and Life, in our lives. May your pilgrimage make you firm in faith!

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.

Shepherds and Robbers

Well, that was a little surprising. Here I was, ready at yesterday’s Fourth Sunday of Easter to hear another of the Resurrection accounts for the Gospel, when lo and behold, instead we hear Jesus talking about sheep and thieves. Even more strange than that, as he uses this imagery, he doesn’t say, “Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the shepherd,” like we might expect. Instead he says, “Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep.” He is the gate? Then who is the shepherd? Well, if I’m really paying attention when the Gospel is proclaimed, I’ll hear his answer: “Whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.”

I’m no exegetical expert, and I have no vast theology background in the Christian Scriptures, but it seems to me there must be something happening in this passage from the Gospel of John that is “bigger” than what I’ve noticed before now. If we were to keep reading (continuing where this Sunday’s Gospel leaves off,) we would hear Jesus immediately say, “I am the good shepherd.” But before I jump to that imagery with which I’ve been familiar since childhood, I feel the need to sit a little bit longer with the imagery of Jesus as the gate. Only those who enter through the gate do so with integrity, freedom, and understanding. Those who try to get in and out of the sheepfold other ways are “thieves and robbers,” trying to take by force what would likely be freely given them if they simply came in through the gate…since, according to Christ’s own words, anyone who enters through the gate is a shepherd.

So what’s the take-home value of this Gospel? For me, it’s about discerning whether I’m a thief or a shepherd in my spiritual life. Do I “go through” Jesus in order to gain life, or do I try to “steal” it in other ways? Do I pray through all aspects of my life, or do I only have recourse to God when my own efforts have come up short? Do I “play God” in my relationships and ministry by trying to fix things (or people!) and control outcomes, or do I place it all in his hands and allow him to take care of what is rightly his anyway?

Yes, yes…there are some powerful truths for me to learn in this weekend’s Gospel. Might there be for you, too?

May 15 – World Day of Prayer for Vocations

What a tremendous encouragement we receive from Pope Benedict XVI in his Message for World Day of Prayer for Vocations, which we will celebrate this Sunday, May 15th! The Holy Father reminds us that “Vocations to the ministerial priesthood and to the consecrated life are first and foremost the fruit of constant contact with teh living God and insistent prayer lifted up to the “Lord of the harvest”…” Its so true…everyone who has a vocation to the priesthood or consecrated life has realize their vocation through prayer. Personal and liturgical prayer help us grow in familiarity with Christ because we are listening to God’s word.

When God’s call to the priesthood or consecrated life is realized in a person’s heart, often there can be fears or resistance to accepting and doing God’s will. But again, the Holy Father encourages us, “entering into God’s will does not crush or destroy a person, but instead leads to the discovery of the deepst truth about ourselves…” This truth is realized most clearly in our personal relationship with Christ. It is also realized in relationship with others, for in being generous and fraternal in relationships with others, we become open to and share with others the love of God. And in doing so “we discover true joy and the fulfillment of our aspirations.”

Let us continue to invite young men and women to open their hearts to God’s will and prayerfully consider His call.

Being True Witnesses

“How can we meet the Lord, each time becoming more and more his true witnesses?” the Holy Father asked, explaining that St. Maximus of Turin affirmed, “whosoever wishes to reach the Savior must first put themselves, in their very faith, at the right hand of the divinity, and place themselves in heaven with the belief of their hearts”. This is constantly learning to direct the mind’s and the heart’s gaze toward the heights of God where the risen Christ is. In prayer and in adoration God encounters the human being … Only if we know how to direct ourselves toward Him and pray to Him can we discover the deepest meaning of our lives and our daily path will be illuminated with the light of the Risen One”.
–Pope Benedict XVI, Regina Coeli, Easter 2011

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