Earlier today, I was visiting another website when I noticed that someone I knew was studying to become a priest. The person writing this piece of news on the board said what has since become the title of my post.
As someone discerning a vocation, I don’t think that it is so much about external looks as it is about how well one lives one’s vocation to the interior. A man can enter the priesthood being six feet tall or very short. Quite frankly, none of that matters. What matters is whether the candidate makes a good priest or brother in the eyes of his superiors. Quite frankly, there were some saints that were downright ugly on the outside. I can think of St. Mucien of Malonne, a Christian Brother, as one example although he became renowned throughout his community for the way that he obediently practiced every tenet of the rule.
In the end, too, vocations are about so much more than just the desire to become a priest, brother, or sister. As much as I hate to say this, discernment is a journey and each one of us has to find the path that God has chosen for us. We may have to make a couple of illegal U-turns here and there in order to get what God wants, but that is okay. The thing is that we get there in the end. After all, the end of any vocation is that we are able to save our souls. Our vocation is the means to that end as is almost everyhting else that we do in our spiritual lives.
When I think about vocations to the priesthood, I often feel that a certain type of candidate is needed in order to make a good priest. As is the case with many such things, those characteristics can be subjective and different directors look for different things. The one thing that has always struck me in the priests I admire is their erudition, their piety, and their love for the Church. Granted, one does not have to be very book smart in order to become a priest, but it does help. Yet piety and love for the Church are extremely important indeed because they can help the vocation to grow. If you think of a plant, these two things are like the rain and the sun. One feeds the other and helps the plant to grow strong and firm.
Yet why is it then that vocations to the priesthood are so few and far between in our day and age? Perhaps, it has to do with the society in which we live and the fact that the priesthood is not touted as much as it used to be. In our career oriented society, religious life in general is frowned up. It is seen as a waste of time and talents. Yet few people realize that there are good things that come out of the deprivation of money, sex, and rock n’roll. In fact, there are many graces to be gained in the priesthood and the religious life. Indeed, the grace of a vocation to the priesthood is only the beginning.
Let us pray today for our priests and that Our Lord may send more workers into the harvest.
Our Lady, Mother of the Clergy, pray for us!
St. Joseph, pray for us!