Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Vocation stories

Today, I'm leaving you with the vocation stories of several priests compiled by the Mundelein Seminary, also known as the University of St. Mary of the Lake.

You can view or download it as a pdf file here.

While I'm on the subject, I know that many of you readers are contemplating a vocation to the priesthood or the religious life. So am I. Do share your stories and your journey so that we who are on the same journey can be edified. If you know of the vocation stories of those who have already been ordained or those who have already made their religious profession, share them too. I love a good vocation story as much as I love a good conversion story. =)

There's 2 books I particularly like and would recommend. Firstly, Priest: Portraits of Ten Good Men Serving the Church Today written by Michael Rose. Self explanatory title. Second, A Priest Forever: The Life of Father Eugene Hamilton written by Fr. Benedict Groeschel of EWTN fame. It tells the story of a man who was ordained 3 hours before his death, though he did not complete his seminary training after a special dispensation was granted by Pope John Paul II. Though he never functioned as a priest, nevertheless, by virtue of his ordination, Fr. Gene is a priest forever in the Order of Melchizedek. Cool and inspiring read.

In your journey, perhaps you've been influenced by the example of a holy priest or perhaps there's a particular incident that deeply affected you and led you to consider the priesthood. Please share it in the combox (drop a comment). If not here, then elsewhere.

Even more importantly, if you have an experience or met a priest or religious that has totally put you off from considering a vocation, then share it too. Things like these are important. Priests and religious are on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In a moment of impatience, perhaps they have driven someone away from Christ. Forgive them and give them the benefit of the doubt. Remember that all humans are sinners and are far from impeccable. But it is the Lord Jesus whom we follow and he is neither.

It is the parish priest who often wields the largest influence in someone's vocation. If your parish priest is firstly holy, and then happy and contented being a priest, then he will inspire men to be like him. Unhappy priests always harping about the injustice of the Church, display irreverence and are heterodox will not attract anyone. Their bitterness merely drives people away.

That's why many women's religious orders who have abandoned the habit and continually harp about the injustice of ordaining only men, the injustice that they cannot be priests, how unhappy they are being nuns, are dying out. With so much wrong being proclaimed, who in their right mind would want to join them? But the orders who have happy women who are proud to be nuns are attracting the most vocations.

But finally, do remember that a vocation is a call, a call from the Lord Jesus to leave everything and follow Him. My we be attentive to His voice so that we may discern whether He is calling us into His service. May he also give us the courage to say Yes! to His call.

Do pray for vocations, that the Lord of the Harvest may send more labourers into His vineyard.
May the Lord give us holy priests! Many holy priests!

Hat tip to Fr. Daren Zehnle.

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