18 January 2013
Good luck lowering me through the roof!
This week has been Vocation Awareness Week, and let me tell you, I am very much aware of my vocation! Thanks be to God. I don't think that's what this week was supposed to be about, however. As I reflected on today's readings, the friends lower the paralytic down into the room where Jesus is, I kept thinking of how this connects to the very real vocations that each of us has received. Right off the bat, I wanted to share about the real and touching care with which these friends helped the paralytic man reach Jesus, I mean c'mon, in living out our vocation, we too help each other discern and respond to our vocation, whatever that may be. And yes, while that is an amazing route to take, I want to focus a little more on the thought process that must have taken place among the friends. The attitude with which the friends must have approached their situation was not a passive and "we'll see what happens" attitude, but as the Scriptures so often point out in people such as Zachaeus, or Bartimeus, they had a zealous and willing approach, one could almost say that like the Apostles, the followed or acted immediately. This is something to be considered. In my own life, or in the lives around me, perhaps children, loved ones or others, how is it that I take a role of encouragement that allows others to be comfortable in their discerning their vocation. Or perhaps, the question can be, how can I help others discern, whether through prayer, through helping them see the different benefits and blessings, or in many other ways. The reality is, that more and more, there is a general sense of "we need priests, but not my son!" or... "we need nuns, but not my daughter!", and in an even more unfortunate.. "poor saps, they were no good as anything else." Just this past month, I was approached by a young man in college who has been discerning God's call in his life, and while his parents pray for vocations every time they go to mass, they refuse to even let him go on a discernment retreat. I understand that as a parent or a friend, seeing a son or a daughter go off and give their life to God must seem like a foreign and strange thing to do and even difficult, especially in an age when there are so many "better" jobs that one can do (i was even encouraged to become a plumber at one point in my discernment), but the reality is that sometimes, despite ourselves, God calls. The question then becomes, will we take on a role of those friends who went to all sorts of weird measures to help out their friend, or will we take one look at the roof and decide that the law suit would be too much! We mustn't be afraid! In our own journeys of life, let us be those encouraging people who are willing to go to any extreme to help a our brother or sister in discernment, whether they are called to the priesthood, the religious life, the diaconate, married life or the single life, I hope that as a people of God, we can trust that after all is said and done, He will make the repairs needed on that roof, or pay the bills, as long as our brother or sister, my son or daughter, our friend, can say that he or she has found the peace that is in saying yes to God. As always, know that you are loved. God bless you. Fr. Ricky