A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Monday, April 30, 2007

We few?

Yesterday was the annual World Day of Prayer for Vocations.

Yesterday many priests (too many) talked about how there were fewer vocations today and how we needed more.

This kind of talk drives me crazy.

For one thing, as I once heard a vocation director say, focusing too much on the need for vocations in this way sounds like, “Come to my party. No one else is.”

For another thing, too much focus on numbers of vocations can be dangerously misleading.

Don’t get me wrong: it would be wonderful to have our seminaries, convents and rectories overflowing with holy servants of God. May God let it be so.

But we don’t need herds of “vocations” interested in a well-regarded, comfortable, and perhaps altruistic career and little more.

We need heroes: men and women who are focused on their individual call by Christ in the Church.

This is not simply a matter of making a virtue of necessity, glorifying quality over quantity simply because quantity is lacking, but it is rather the simple reality of God’s power.

Our Lord’s parables about mustard seeds, about yeast, and about salt remind us that the power of God’s grace does incredible wonders with small quantities.

If the number of vocations is large, that’s great, but ultimately what is important is that you and I – yes, you and I – respond fully and intensely and heroically to the particular call that Jesus Christ has given to me and the particular call that he has given to YOU.

For some of us (more of us than we think), that call is to priesthood, with all of its challenges and bad press.

For some of us, that call is to the consecrated life, despite all of its challenges and the discouraging words of some.

For some of us, that call is to Christian marriage: not a typical marriage with a Christian veneer, but a marriage that is full and intensely and heroically Christian – faithful to the true good of the family and to the truths of eternity, rather than focused on comfort and “the latest thing.”

For the rest of us, it is desperately important that we be living our Christian commitment fully, intensely and heroically each and every day, while we continue actively to discern the Lord’s call.

Whatever our particular call by Christ may be, we must answer it faithfully and fervently by his grace.

Not only does our eternal salvation in Christ require it, but also the good of the Church and indeed the entire world.

We cannot let ourselves coast.

The people of God need heroes.

We need heroic priests, heroic religious, heroic spouses, heroic parents, and very heroic single people.

You and I must be among these heroes.

Think not that we are few.

Remember only that Jesus Christ calls.