Sunday, February 7, 2010

Why Prayer for Vocations and Seminarians

From notes for my Sunday Homily:

Why should we pray for vocations to the priesthood? Why should we pray for seminarians?

In looking at today's readings, all three include the struggles of those who are called to do something by God, but all face their own weaknesses or temptations in responding:

Isaiah is a man with unclean lips among a people of unclean lips, how will he be able to convey the message that God wants him to convey?

Paul is the least of the Apostles, one who does not deserve to be called an Apostle, for he persecuted the Church of Christ.

Peter recognizes that someone great is in his midst and can only see his own weaknesses: leave me Lord, for I am a sinful man.

The good news is that God does not call the perfect to follow Him, thankfully, for I wouldn't be here! If He called the perfect, they would rely on their own strength instead of the grace that comes from Him.

Rather, He calls those who have a heart open and disposed to serving Him, a Heart which desires to be an open conduit from Him to His people. The best compliment to give a priest is that he gets out of the way to let God work through him.

When a young man enters the seminary or religious formation, when a young woman enters the convent, he/she will experience temptations and attacks, questions of faith, questions of worthiness, the 'what in the world did I just get myself into?!?!?' moment.

In my first year of seminary, as a soph in college, in a three week span, three of my high school classmates and my great-grandmother all passed away. That was it for me: 'What in the world is happening here?'

It would have been easy to walk away, but boy am I glad I didn't!

We need to pray for our sems that they might have the courage and strength to make it through these periods of temptations, these periods where they are confronted with their own sinfulness, yet also with a call to do and be something more. 'How is it that Jesus has called me, a sinner, to so great a responsibility?'

Pray for your priests who might be hitting the same thing, too, that they might persevere.

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