Have you ever wondered what God is calling you to do with your life? I ponder that question for the longest time, and I believe He might have thrown a brick at me to wake me up.
I attend Saturday night Mass. I prefer it, to be honest. It’s not because I get to sleep in on Sunday or with fewer people (but I prefer smaller Masses.)
To me, it’s about showing up during the middle of the day, sitting in the Church, and just centering myself in the presence of the Lord. There is nothing more refreshing to show up as early as you want (without it being too early) and just sitting quietly in a church.
I showed up extra early, hoping my priest had returned from vacation. But, let’s face it, these holy shepherds also need breaks from time to time. They are human too! Thankfully, my priest was there doing his rounds while he prayed the Liturgy of the Hours.
Showing up, I had a birthday bag full of religious items I wanted him to bless. Specifically, statues of St. Michael, St. Therese, and St. Joan, of course. He was smiled, saying, “I see you got the heavy-duty Saints.”
How right he was.
I try to confess every week, if not twice a week. It’s vital to hold yourself accountable, but one of the most wondrous things about Confession is coming into contact with Jesus through the priest. Something is awe-inspiring when you hear you are absolved of your sins.
See, Confession is when you openly admit to your weaknesses and the wrongs you have committed willingly or unwillingly. It’s a place where Jesus, the Divine Healer, listens to your symptoms and gives you the Graces you need to help heal those weaknesses and even turn them into strengths.
One thing I find myself often confessing these couple of days is despair over my vocation. I openly told the priest that sometimes I do feel like I have a vocation. I don’t know if it’s the priesthood, religious life, or marriage, but I can feel it from time to time.
When I do, I sometimes fall into great despair. I want to go after the vocation, yet student loan debt is holding me back. At times, I counter this by saying, “God is using the debt to help prepare me for discernment.”
Yet Jesus supplied my priest with the words I desperately needed to hear. He said, “You know, Edwin. I think you’re right. God could be using this debt to form you. When you’re ready for your vocation, God can’t be stopped by debt. You must have faith, and I know that’s hard that seems insurmountable. But with God, debt means nothing.”
I could feel God behind his words. Yet my priest said something that stunned me to the core.
“A vocation isn’t the same thing as a career. A career is simply using your skills in the most efficient way to help cover your physical needs. A vocation isn’t about getting to point A to point B. It’s about using the rest of the time you have in how you will love God until you move on from this world.”
That shocked me. To me, those words instilled some kind of fire in my heart. I just wanted to say, “Well, I want to spend the rest of my time loving God.” But I realized that I’m not sure how I am to love God. Marriage, you love and honor God by raising a family.
The Priesthood is about loving God by bringing God to others. The religious life is about loving God by denying yourself.
There was something that moved me in that confessional as I was absolved of my fears and doubts. That’s why I love Confession so dearly. It’s not only about confessing your sins but your receive spiritual guidance that often comes from the Lord through His priest.
Ironically enough, I felt satisfied with that, and I felt more willing to trust the Lord. Yet, at the same time, I pondered how I could be more inclined to trust God through the uncertainty. I thought I had received God’s message.
Well, He wasn’t done speaking to me.
Occasionally, our Deacon will give the Homily (or sermon). So it was on the Miracle of the seven loaves of bread where Jesus multiplied seven loaves of bread to feed a crowd of five thousand.
Our Deacon openly admits, “I thought I was going to give a Homily on the Eucharist when I was planning this out. But I quickly found that God was moving me to preach on the Priesthood.”
On the same day, I made my confession about doubts on my vocation and was unsure where to go. Finally, I thought to myself, “God, you clearly want me to listen up.”
As the Deacon went on with the Homily, he notes it is unquestionably astounding how 400,000 men can serve 1.2 Billion members in the Catholic Church. That alone was a miracle on the same scale of seven loathes.
Our deacon emphasized, “It astounds me how God takes such a small thing and amplifies it infinitely. Just as the Creator of the Universe gave His son to redeem us, or how Jesus, the Son of God, comes into our hearts, body, and soul, through the veil and appearance of bread wine, where He is truly there in body, blood, soul, and divinity.”
He continued by imploring the young men of the Church to discern the priesthood seriously. To look for God in the small things, he said that God often does not call us with a bullhorn, but by a slug tug in the heart, and it is up to us to follow that tug.
To foster that vocation, we must live simple and prayerful lives centered around God and not material comforts.
The one thing that hit me was, “The world emphasizes how to use the skills that God gave you to maximize your comfort. Instead, God is calling us to use the skills that He gave to help others to love Him more.”
At the end of the Homily, our deacon pleaded that we are in need of good, holy priests to feed God’s people. And to be a good priest, our homes and lives must be centered around God. Each priest has a specific Charism. Whether they are more contemplative and prayerful, some are more practical in everyday affairs.
I see two different priests, one is very much prayerful, yet my priest is very practical in applying spirituality in everyday things. We need priests who show other aspects of the spiritual life. If each parish had two-three more priests showing various elements of Catholic spirituality, I believe we would see a vast increase in the vocations.
It is funny how I can see God speaking to me through that homily. My priest even came to talk to me afterward. “It’s funny, you had questions about vocation, and God gave you a sermon on it.”
It’s strange to see how God speaks to us through different means. Some might think that is a coincidence, but if you are perceptive enough, you can see God speaking to you, not with a loud booming voice, but through the actions of others and the world around us.