16 January 2011

National Vocation Awareness Week

The following is the (rough) text of the presentation I made to Our Lady of Lourdes parish this weekend.

Good Morning,

I asked Fr. Michael for permission to speak to you from my heart about my heart.  This past week, you see, was National Vocational Awareness Week.  Very often in the Church, when we speak about vocations, we all too often just refer to men and women who decided to become sisters, brothers, priests and nuns.  In reality, each one of us has been given a vocation through our baptism.  Our hearts have been marked: whether we realize it or not, whether we want to admit it or not, each one of us has been claimed by Christ and marked with a vocation, a calling of service to God and others.

My vocation to be a Capuchin studying for the priesthood likely started when my grandmother taught me my prayers: the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Guardian Angel prayer.  We also played mass together, breaking out the cranberry juice and graham crackers.  As I mentioned to someone yesterday, this likely started when I was six years old.  And now, on Tuesday, I’ll formally begin my theological education some twenty years later.  I can’t forget to mention how much my parents influenced my faith.  This faith matured as my parents took me to church every Sunday and made it common practice to pray before supper each night.

I do not think, however, that I truly realized the plan that God had for me until my junior year in college.  At that point, my mother was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.  My entire world found itself turned on its head.  During my mother’s illness, I met my first Capuchin, a professor who had recently been through his own battle with cancer.  As our friendship developed, I found a kinship with the other Capuchins that I met.
They were a group of men undoubtedly with flaws, but still deeply committed growing in holiness and love of Jesus.  And perhaps that is why I stand before you today: in a time in which the world is severely confused, Jesus remains for me the rock upon which I can build my life. 

My journey of two and a half years with the Capuchins has not been easy; then again, as all of you know, nothing worth doing is done without hardship and trial.  
So today, I make a request and offer you a promise.  I ask for your prayers as the Capuchins in formation continue to discern our own vocations and listen to the voice of God in our lives; we promise that we will do the same for you. 

As a way of closing, I make one final request: if you believe that perhaps the will of God in your life or someone you know might intersect with the Capuchins or priesthood, do not be afraid to answer the call or to encourage someone else.  Our Constitutions call the Capuchin life a daring adventure of love: truer words were never written.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I remember you "celebrating" Mass one time at grandma's....

Chris J