>> Monday, January 11, 2010
VOCATIONS AWARENESS WEEK 2010 DAY 2
I have mentioned the Vocations Boom website on the site before, and they recently published an article entitled: "Five Excuses You Are Using To Avoid The Seminary"
It's a great read and although it is geared toward the priesthood, I think the article has some good insight to help all those discerning their vocation. Hit the Jump to see a Vocations Boom Video, and read the 5 Reasons You Are Using To Avoid The Seminary.
From the Vocations Boom Website:
Five Excuses You're Using to Avoid the Seminary
(Posted by guest blogger Fr. Michael Najim)
I’ve been in vocation ministry long enough to know that it’s not always easy for a man to decide to enter the seminary. For example, sometimes he experiences resistance from his family or friends, and this lack of support adds to his own hesitancy to make a decision.
There are a myriad of other excuses that a man can use to avoid entering the seminary. By no means do I consider the following list to be exhaustive; but as you read, you may be able to identify with one or more of these excuses.
I’m just not sure if God is calling me
But, my brother, you keep thinking about the priesthood. And the more you try to push it out of your mind, the stronger it becomes. You find yourself more and more attracted to the priestly life. When you pray, the priesthood is on your heart. It’s a mystery, and you really can’t put your finger on it, but for some reason you feel that there’s more to life than you’re experiencing at this moment. You say you’re still not sure, but everything that you’re experiencing in your heart is drawing you to the priesthood. Isn’t that “proof” enough that God is calling you? You must enter the seminary to definitively know.
I’m not holy enough
Well, let’s take a look at the original twelve. I wouldn’t exactly say that they had halos around their heads when Jesus called them. Matthew was a tax collector, and they were pretty much considered scum by taxpayers during Jesus’ time. Simon Peter had a tendency to be irascible. He was notorious for sticking his foot in his mouth. The Twelve were mostly simple fishermen. Nowhere in Scripture does it say that they were perfect before or after they were called. Jesus didn’t call them because they were perfect; He called them so that he could shine through their weaknesses. We’re never going to be perfect, but with God’s grace we can grow in holiness. Besides, as priests, it’s important for us to show people compassion. When we know our own weaknesses, it’s easier for us to show God’s mercy to others.
But I still have the desire to be a husband and father
Great! If you think you’d make a good father and husband, then you would make a phenomenal priest. Being a priest doesn’t mean that you lose the desire for fatherhood or spousal intimacy; nor does it mean that you sacrifice being a father. In fact, the priest’s deepest identity is being a spiritual father. He is also called to be a chaste spouse to the Church. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that a priest is less of a man because he is not married. The priest needs to be a great father and he needs to love the Church, the Bride of Christ.
I know He may be calling me, but I want to keep my options open for now
If you want to keep your options open for now, what’s to say that you won’t be in the same place ten years from now? Isn’t this just an excuse to be uncommitted? Christian men need to rise above the tendency of many men to remain uncommitted. Jesus needs men who are willing to give themselves without reservation to lead people to Him. So stop messing around with keeping your options open. Man up! Get off your duff and make a move! You’re not becoming more of a man by remaining uncommitted. All you’re doing is being wishy-washy and letting the world dictate your decision. Sorry to be so strong, but if this is your excuse, then you, my brother, simply need a kick in the butt.
Honestly, I’m just afraid
It’s good that you can admit it. But don’t you think there’s a reason why the words “Do not be afraid” appear so frequently in the Scriptures? Gabriel said it to Mary. Joseph heard the same words from the angel. Jesus told Simon Peter not to be afraid. The Lord knew that fear would be a big obstacle in our spiritual lives. That’s why He spoke these words so often. We should only fear offending God. Other than that, fear is not of God and we should reject it in the power of the Holy Spirit. If you feel in your heart that the Lord is calling you but fear is keeping you from responding, you must fight against that fear. Don’t allow fear to dictate your decision. It will be a great victory for you.
So, there you have it. Five really bad excuses you’re using to avoid the seminary. Now stop discerning and make a decision!
Fr. Michael Najim was ordained on June 23, 2001. He is the Vocation Director for the Diocese of Providence and a formator at the Seminary of Our Lady of Providence. He is the author of Radical Surrender: Letters to Seminarians and he blogs at www.liveholiness.com
VOCATIONS AWARENESS WEEK 2010 DAY 2