When most people hear the word "vocations" in the Catholic Church, they immediately think of priests, religious, and perhaps deacons. In reality, we all have a vocation. In our baptism we are made members of the Body of Christ (1 Cor 12) and become adopted sons and daughters of Christ. We are all called to be priest, prophet, and king as disciples of Christ. This does not mean that we are all called to be priests in the ordained sense nor are we called to be prophets like Jeremiah and Isaiah. Nor are we all called to be kings, not everyone can be in charge at the same time.
How then are we all called to be priests, prophets, and kings? We are called to be priests by giving of ourselves. A priest is one who makes sacrifices. We are called to sacrifice for others.
A prophet is one who speaks for God. We speak for God by sharing our faith with others, letting others know how God calls us to live, loving God and loving our neighbors.
A king in the Christian disciple view is one who serves the people. A ruler should never rule for his or her own good but rather for the common good of all people.
We are all called to serve God in some way. Most people are called to be married and raise children. For these people the first and primary way they serve God is that in their love for one another they image God's love to the world. They also serve God by raising their children in the practice and love of our Christian faith. A few married people will work for the church or charities as part of their calling. Most people work in secular jobs but they can still show forth their faith in always doing their best and relying on their faith as they make decisions and carry out their work.
A few people are called to serve God in another way, as a priest or religious. Priests and religious choose to be celibate (never marrying) not because they do not love others but rather that they love all people and are willing to give their lives to the total service of God.
Our permanent deacons bridge the two groups, both being married and working in the secular world and serving God as ordained ministers. Deacons can baptize, preside at marriages, and assist at Mass and preach on occasion.
We are all aware of the declining number of priests and religious. God continues to call people to be priests and religious but as church attendance drops so too does the number of people answering God's call to be priests and religious drop. Have you ever considered being a priest or religious? Don't be afraid to check it out! Or do you know someone who you think would make a good priest or religious? Then don't be afraid to speak to them about it! Did you know that there are many people who feel the call to be a priest or religious but never pursue it because no one ever suggests it to them!
If you feel called to be a priest, religious, or deacons, we encourage you to speak to a few to find out more about what they do. You can also check with your local vocations office or religious order.
Past Reflections by Fr. Jeff
For more information about my life before I began my studies for the priesthood click here. If you want to read a paper I wrote on my role as a member of the laity click here
"I am a Christian for my own sake, whereas I am a leader for your sake; the fact that I am a Christian is to my own advantage, but I am a leader for your advantage." St. Augustine - From the Beginning of His Sermon on Pastors.
"A clean heart create for him, God; renew in me a steadfast spirit." Psalm 51:12
Renewal of Faith