Thursday, March 13, 2008

PRIESTLY VOCATION

Priestly Vocation
What are the signs of Priestly Vocation?
The vocation to the priesthood is seen in 3 principal signs, St. Alphonsus tells us.

1st, Purity of Intention- the intention above all to serve God and save souls for the glory of God, and not to please men, or gain the esteem of others, for “God hath scattered the bones of them that please men: they have been confounded, because God hath despised them.” (Ps. 52:6), that is, who pleased men apart from or contrary to God’s good pleasure.

Secondly, there is need of the necessary talent and learning, a talent and learning so as to understand and communicate the faith, “For,” Holy Writ declares, “the lips of the priest shall teach knowledge, and they shall seek the law at his mouth.” (Mal 2:7). A teaching ordered toward the love of God, which aims not only at enlightening with truth but which is truly pastoral as well, exposing and condemning error, which is the ruin of souls. As Pope Pius XI said: “The first and obvious duty the priest owes to the world about him, is service to the truth, the unmasking and refutation of error in whatever form of disguise it conceals itself."

Lastly, yet most importantly there is needed goodness of character, both due to the fact that the priest must become the guide of others in the way of holiness, and, most of all, because he stands in the very Holy of Holies and holds the Body of Christ in his very hands, consecrated for this sole purpose. Thus not only his hands but his whole soul must be consecrated and set apart for god, which the Church sums up in a most beautiful phrase in the ordination rite, “Imitamini quod tractatis” Imitate what you handle; that is Sacrifice yourself as Christ sacrifices himself for the glory of God and salvation of souls. Live the Mass!

How to discern one's vocation?
The Magi (in search of Child Jesus) did not simply trust in their own discernment of the call, but rather consulted the priests. This is a very important point, for no man is a good judge of himself and we often deceive ourselves through an excessive or deficient estimation of what talents the Lord has given us, when we would simply do better to ask a priest of many years experience what is needed and to open our soul to him, and let him judge. For in the end, the call to the priesthood is one of the Church through her appointed pastors, a call which takes place even in the ordination rite itself, to which the “priest-to-be” can only respond like Samuel, “Adsum” Here I am O Lord.

The criteria
You are worthy, because God finds so! St. Pius X, says “Do we imagine that God is influenced by any inborn or acquired excellence of ours, to make use of our help for the extension of his glory? By no means; for it is written: God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and the weak things of the world God has chosen to confound the strong… the humble and contemptible things of the world God has chosen…” For by ourselves we can do nothing. But with Christ all things are possible. And thus St. Thomas says “God does not destine men to such or such a vocation without favoring them with gifts at the same time, and preparing them in such a way as to render them capable of fulfilling the duties of their vocation; for as St. Paul says, ‘Our sufficiency is from God who also hath made us fit ministers of the New Testament‘ ” (2 Cor. 3:5).”

Be true to your search of God
We must like the Magi, simply set out in faith, following the star in the midst of the dark night, uncertain where it will lead, yet confident that it is God who guides who cannot lead astray. And we must have great generosity toward God, and a prompt obedience to his calling, especially in our day for as St. Pius X said “to bring about the reign of Jesus Christ in the world, nothing is more essential than a saintly clergy who, by their example, their preaching and their learning will be the guides of the faithful; an old proverb says that the people will always be like their priests: Sicut sacerdos, sic populus.” For how they shall hear unless one is sent, as the Magi return today with the good news of salvation.

Let us promot Vocations
Since holy priestly vocations are the life of the Church, and salvation of the world it falls to each one of us to do what we can to promote them, and for young men to be generous in discerning this call. It behooves parents, especially the father, in the holiness with which they live, as one can notably observe the great benefit in formation that seminarians have received who enter the seminary from holy families. The priestly vocation must be something held in great esteem as well, and seen as the greatest honor for a family. And to the contrary, if parents discourage a priestly vocation in their son (or a religious vocation in their daughter), when they appear truly interested in it, it is a mortal sin, according to St. Alphonsus and the common teaching. St. Bernard goes so far as to call such parents murderers. The Council of Trent also condemned the opinion of Luther, who held that one should obey parents who object to their religious calling, as we must always obey God before men. May we be inspired by the very moving tradition in which a newly ordained priest gives to his mother the cloth with which his anointed hands were wrapped, and to his Father the stole of his first confession, which are placed on them at their death, that they may appear before God as the blessed parents of a priest for all eternity.

Some thing for Christ
A generosity, which is simply a response to the generosity of God, who freely chooses to save man, and to choose men to participate in his own work. “As the Father sent me (the Son of God!) so I send you,” for the salvation of the world, the ONLY end, which matters after this so-called life, which lasts but for the blink of an eye. Christ came down from heaven and died the most shameful death for love of you. What have you done for Christ, what are you doing for Christ, what will you do for Christ.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

dear sajan ,
i apprecitae ur blog....it,s r'ly nice....ur great...fr.joby

sethak said...

Dear Srambi,
It is great from your part.
i congratulate you for your effort.
sajoy

Anonymous said...

Dear Sajan,
Good. continue your efforts.
V Chackumkuzhy