Tuesday, April 22, 2008

"Embrace (your vocation) with joy"

On Sunday evening, I took five of our high school young men to a vocations event called the “Project Andrew Dinner”. They joined about 20 other high school men from nearby parishes for Mass, dinner, talks on the priesthood, and a vocations video. The guys seemed to enjoy the night and benefit from it. During the event, one of our young men said that he feels he has a vocation to the priesthood and wanted to know how to pursue it. Thanks be to God, the parents, and your prayers, eight young men from our parish and youth group have attended vocations events in the past three months. Please keep praying that more of our young men and women will hear the call to priesthood and religious life, and respond generously. You have powerful prayers!

Speaking of vocations, here are excerpts from the Holy Father’s address to young people and seminarians in New York on Saturday. To view the full text, please click on today’s title.

Dear young people, finally I wish to share a word about vocations. First of all my thoughts go to your parents, grandparents and godparents. They have been your primary educators in the faith. By presenting you for baptism, they made it possible for you to receive the greatest gift of your life. On that day you entered into the holiness of God himself. You became adoptive sons and daughters of the Father. You were incorporated into Christ. You were made a dwelling place of his Spirit. Let us pray for mothers and fathers throughout the world, particularly those who may be struggling in any way – socially, materially, spiritually. Let us honor the vocation of matrimony and the dignity of family life. Let us always appreciate that it is in families that vocations are given life.

Gathered here at Saint Joseph Seminary, I greet the seminarians present and indeed encourage all seminarians throughout America. I am glad to know that your numbers are increasing! The People of God look to you to be holy priests, on a daily journey of conversion, inspiring in others the desire to enter more deeply into the ecclesial life of believers. I urge you to deepen your friendship with Jesus the Good Shepherd. Talk heart to heart with him. Reject any temptation to ostentation, careerism, or conceit. Strive for a pattern of life truly marked by charity, chastity and humility, in imitation of Christ, the Eternal High Priest, of whom you are to become living icons (cf. Pastores Dabo Vobis, 33). Dear seminarians, I pray for you daily. Remember that what counts before the Lord is to dwell in his love and to make his love shine forth for others.

Religious Sisters, Brothers and Priests contribute greatly to the mission of the Church. Their prophetic witness is marked by a profound conviction of the primacy with which the Gospel shapes Christian life and transforms society. Today, I wish to draw your attention to the positive spiritual renewal which Congregations are undertaking in relation to their charism. The word charism means a gift freely and graciously given. Charisms are bestowed by the Holy Spirit, who inspires founders and foundresses, and shapes Congregations with a subsequent spiritual heritage. The wondrous array of charisms proper to each Religious Institute is an extraordinary spiritual treasury. Indeed, the history of the Church is perhaps most beautifully portrayed through the history of her schools of spirituality, most of which stem from the saintly lives of founders and foundresses. Through the discovery of charisms, which yield such a breadth of spiritual wisdom, I am sure that some of you young people will be drawn to a life of apostolic or contemplative service. Do not be shy to speak with Religious Brothers, Sisters or Priests about the charism and spirituality of their Congregation. No perfect community exists, but it is fidelity to a founding charism, not to particular individuals, that the Lord calls you to discern. Have courage! You too can make your life a gift of self for the love of the Lord Jesus and, in him, of every member of the human family (cf. Vita Consecrata, 3).

Friends, again I ask you, what about today? What are you seeking? What is God whispering to you? The hope which never disappoints is Jesus Christ. The saints show us the selfless love of his way. As disciples of Christ, their extraordinary journeys unfolded within the community of hope, which is the Church. It is from within the Church that you too will find the courage and support to walk the way of the Lord. Nourished by personal prayer, prompted in silence, shaped by the Church’s liturgy you will discover the particular vocation God has for you. Embrace it with joy. You are Christ’s disciples today. Shine his light upon this great city and beyond. Show the world the reason for the hope that resonates within you. Tell others about the truth that sets you free. With these sentiments of great hope in you I bid you farewell, until we meet again in Sydney this July for World Youth Day! And as a pledge of my love for you and your families, I gladly impart my Apostolic Blessing.


At 12:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The clothing priests wear clearly defines their vocation, but spotting a nun can be much more challenging when they are not wearing their traditional habit. I saw several nuns at the Pope’s mass, but not as many as I anticipated and the only way I knew they were nuns was because of their clothing. When nuns attend a special mass, such as one celebrated by the Pope, do they wear any specific or special vestments?

The stadium’s huge screen did a wonderful job of showing people up close, especially the individuals and groups that sang, read or signed for the hearing impaired. I remember hearing and seeing a priest with a beautiful voice sing, but I don’t remember seeing any nun(s) sing, read or sign during the ceremony. Did I miss something or did the event planners miss something?

At 12:42 PM, Blogger fran said...

Last Sunday, during the Papal Mass coverage in New York, Shepard Smith, Fox News, asked the priest who was providing commentary, about his calling to the priesthood.

He said that he was in college studying for a business degree, and that his roommate was talking about becoming a priest. He said he had never given any thought to the priesthood, but in talking to his roommate, one thing lead to another and he entered the seminary after college, and (of course) is now a priest. The roommate? Married. With children.

I love stories like this because they point up so beautifully God's plan for each of us, whatever our vocation might be. And it also illustrates how God works through others in the most sublime ways.

At 10:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Several weeks ago you asked for prayers for your Aunt Ellen. May these words be of some comfort and hope to her and all people battling cancer or the fear of its reoccurrence. May they also provide comfort and hope to family, friends and caregivers as well.

Cancer is limited ...

It cannot cripple love,
It cannot shatter hope,
It cannot corrode faith,
It cannot eat away peace,
It cannot destroy confidence,
It cannot shut out memories
It cannot silence courage,
It cannot invade the soul,
It cannot reduce eternal life,
It cannot quench the spirit,
It cannot lessen the power
of the Resurrection.


At 1:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When hearing the word, “vocation,” most think religious life, but I almost always think motherhood. I don’t know why my mind goes there first, likely b/c it’s the call I embraced. I’d always thought that answering the call to bring children into this world and raise them well was the most important way (for me) to do God’s work. Defining motherhood as a meaningful part of God’s work gives it honor. However, often there’s great pressure in that. If I fail in this, well- what else really matters? Furthermore, often I feel pressure to do all with speed and excellence that could rival Martha Stewart. Sometimes, I’ll look at my accomplishments at the end of some period of time or activity and wonder if anything I just did really mattered at all. Sometimes it’s hard to see the “fruits” of the works of motherhood. I find myself comparing my “unseen” accomplishments to those of my friends- the accountants, lawyers and doctors, who have a paycheck at the end of their work period to show the value of their time spent.

Although I don’t like admitting it, I’ve felt pressure to find market-based outlets for my gifts and abilities rather than looking for unique ways to apply them within my role as primary caregiver. I’ve looked for validation from others rather than look to myself for a sense that what I’m doing is, indeed, full of value. In my head, I understand there is no such thing as being “just” a mom. For if you are a mom, you are also likely filling all those roles for which others are employed (chef, doctor, counselor, teacher, and so on). I know all this in my head, but living it can be another story entirely.


Post a Comment

<< Home