An Invitation to Answer the Call of Christ

Saturday, March 29, 2008

from the Vocations Office, Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary, FSSP

"And Jesus walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea (for they were fishers). And he saith to them: Come ye after Me, and I will make you to be Fishers of Men." (Mt. 4:18-19)

Do you know someone who may be called to the Priesthood? Do you think that you may be called to the Priesthood? If you answered yes to either question, this article was written for you.

A vocation to the Priesthood is something that only God can give. No man may choose to take the Priesthood for himself. Jesus Christ taught this humbling message to His followers with these words: "You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and appointed you to go forth and bear fruit." Making a decisions about entering a Seminary can be made easier by looking at what a Vocation is, and what the Church says about Vocations.

Is a man called to the Priesthood because he is perfect? This is certainly not the case. The first followers of Our Lord were far from perfect. St Peter, upon whom Our Saviour built His Church, often showed his human weakness. In a moment of excited faith, he walked out on the water to meet Christ. But then, when he felt the strength of the wind and considered what it was he was doing, he lost faith and began to sink, and had to be saved from drowning by Christ. When Our Lord said that He must suffer and die, St Peter said, "Far be this from Thee, Lord." For that, Christ gave him the powerful rebuke, "Get thee behind me, thou Satan." After three years of being in the presence of Christ, and being one of three chosen out of the twelve to receive great spiritual privileges such as witnessing the transfiguration of Our Lord, St Peter gave in to fear and denied Our Lord three times.

But he was not an exception in his failure to follow Christ perfectly. Recall the time when the twelve had finally accepted the fact that Jesus is going to be taken from them. What was the result? They began to discuss among themselves who would lead among them when Jesus was gone. When Jesus asked them what they were talking about as they walked, they fell into an embarrassed silence. Although there was only one traitor, Judas, the other eleven all fled at the time of the arrest of Christ, and left Him alone. Surely a call to the Priesthood does not require holiness: as St Paul tells us, God chooses the weak to confound the strong.

Jesus Christ has no need of perfect men, because He is the all-powerful God. We are all called to perfection by God, as Christ Himself made clear: "Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Our stay on earth is meant to be a journey, not just through the years assigned to us, but also towards our Father in Heaven. Every day we must seek to live in harmony with the will of the Father who has put us all here together. All of us are sinners, and each of us has been called to a certain path of life by God. Some of us are called to serve God in a more direct way; called, though unworthy, to walk after Christ as His disciples walked after Him; called, though we may feel incapable of it, to preach the light of Christ in the darkness of the world; called to baptise, to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, to give the Body and Blood of Christ to the faithful; called to hear the confessions of others and, though sinners ourselves, assign a penance and give them absolution.

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