Today marks the end of National Vocation Awareness week for the United States, but not the end to our efforts to promote, pray for and seek out vocations to ministry, coworkers in the vineyard, especially priestly ministry for our local church. Each of us responds to God’s call in our own way through the life choices we make, the priorities that mark our daily activities. In Paul’s letter to the Romans, 16: 3-27, he introduces us to many co-workers, Prisca and Aquila who risked their lives for him. Epaenetus, Mary, Andronicus and Junia, Ampliatus, Urbanus and others; these men and women who received the Good News of the Gospel and put it into practice in their own communities, supporting Paul and furthering the mission of the early faith community, the early church.
In our own day and age, that is not much different from Paul’s time, people are always pulled in two directions, one to take care of themselves and others or become so obsessed with work there is little time for God or others. We can become too involved with athletics, hobbies, or other activities that limit our pursuit of happiness and wholeness through prayer, reflection and even meditation. Every Christian seeks a balance between the two, taking care of oneself and taking care of others.
From the USCCB vocational awareness source the author offers these thoughts: “God has given us gifts and talents to serve others and to glorify God.“ Our fulfillment, our happiness, is the greatest when we live for others. It is good to ask ourselves from time to time, how much time and money do I contribute to others? If my basic needs are satisfied, at what point do I have enough? What is it that I am looking for in life? The specific response from each person is different. But the overarching concern is the same. “Where your treasure is, there is also your heart.” (Mt 6:21) Our hearts were made for love – love of God and love for others. When our hearts are at peace, then we have found true happiness. It is then that the words of Jesus will ring true, “you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.”
Each of us has a vocation to serve God and others, but we also need to pray for those people who specifically may have a call from God to serve in the church, to lead it, guide it, and be servants of the people, to pray with people, celebrate the sacraments and continue the mission of the church. Who have you asked, “How is God calling you to serve people in the church and in the community?”
Blessings, Father Larry Hendel