Posts Tagged 'vocation'


In today’s Gospel we are reminded that St. Mary Madgalene was looking for the dead body of her Lord, Jesus Christ. She never found it. Instead, she first heard his voice, but didn’t recognize it. When he called her by name, “Mary,” she recognized the voice of her Teacher (“Rabboni!”) and Lord. When she looked up, she saw her risen, LIVING Lord.

Look deep within your heart. In the darkness of the unknown in discerning God’s will for your life, listen for the Lord’s voice. Pray that you hear the voice of the Lord call you by name, that you may acknowledge him as your LIVING Lord, who lives within you and (just as for St. Mary Magdalene) turns your darkness into light, and your tears into joy.

Blessed are the poor in spirit…

What does it mean to be poor in spirit? I had a student who once told me that this passage meant God didn’t want us to like ourselves too much. In the Gospel of Matthew, that section in chapter 5 typically known as the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says “Blessed are they who are poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 5:3). Being called to the vocation of priesthood or consecrated life requires poverty in spirit. But what exactly does that mean?

First, poverty in spirit is not self-pity or self-loathing. To be poor in spirit reflects back to the Old Testament notion of the “anawim” the little ones. God takes pity on Israel as His anawim, his little ones whom he loves. Israel’s poverty is also its greatest treasure, since relying on God for everything also means that God provides for all their needs. Poverty in spirit is this fundamental recognition that everything comes from God, therefore, the one who recognizes their life as a gift given by God already begins to live the blessedness of the kingdom of heaven here on earth.

What a liberating freedom to know that we belong to the Lord, despite our inadequacies, imperfections and defects! He chooses us! A vocation to the priesthood or consecrated life requires a special dependence on God. This form of spiritual poverty allows the one discerning a vocation to have the space and freedom they need to follow the Lord wherever He may lead.

Jesus said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt. 5:3). Blessed are we who trust in Him and follow Him where ever he may lead us!


When I think of someone who responded to God’s call in their life with courage I think of St. Thomas Aquinas. It is not always easy to follow the Lord in the path toward a vocation to the priesthood or the consecrated life, especially as many among our own families and friends look down upon this vocation. In fact, the Lord allows us to endure misunderstanding and at times even tension in our own family life in order to prepare us to a closer walk with Him and the universal family that is the Church. These trials are only part of the journey, but they call for the virtue of courage in enduring them with love.

St. Thomas’ family was of low nobility (his father a Count and his mother a Countess) and had great ambitions for young Thomas. He was given an excellent education by the Benedictine Monks of Monte Cassino, were his parents thought he would one day hold an important position. When Thomas expressed his desire to join the newly founded Order of Preachers (the Dominicans), his family immediately said “no”. The Dominicans, along with the Franciscans, were a mendicant order and did not meet the circle of influence his family wanted Thomas to be associated with. After being held prisoner in his own house for two years, he courageously persevered in his vocation, even as a prostitute was brought in to seduce him, and was finally snuck out of his prison by his brothers.

We recognize that family and friends don’t always understand what God might be calling us to, but like St. Thomas we must confront our call with courage. It takes a lot to say “yes” to God and to meet one’s challenges face on. St. Thomas understood that to follow Christ one must at times be willing to even be misunderstood by one’s own family. Courage to go against someone else’s values and against what they think will make us happy is not easy, especially when those others are our own family, friends, co-workers, etc. Let us pray for the courage to follow Christ who promises the fulfillment and peace the world cannot give us!

Prayer is the Key!

Dear Friends, A vocation to the priesthood or consecrated life is a call from God that is realized in prayer, and prayer is our living relationship with God our Father, his Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Let’s take time today to listen to God in prayer. One could read Scripture for 10 minutes, pray a decade of… the rosary, or stop in the Church to pray a few minutes. Most important is to pray from the heart!

Seminarian Bike Tour Hey everyone!  Check out this video on our Web site about how these seminarians shared with hundreds of children and youth their openness to God’s will for their lives…and had fun!   This is a wonderful way Catholic schools and parishes can promote vocations to the priesthood.

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