Archive for the 'Vocation Directors' 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!

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.

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.

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.

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