The martyrs know that they have found the truth about life in the encounter with Jesus Christ, and nothing and no one could ever take this certainty from them. This is why their words inspires such confidence: from the moment they speak to us of what we perceive deep down as the truth we have sought for so long"
-Pope John Paul II
My friends, may the Lord give you His peace!
In Nebraska we are just coming off ordination weekend. What a joy it was to witness the ordination of my seminary brothers and friends. May God be praised for his goodness and love in calling these faithful men to serve the Church. Some say that the Catholic Church is in a vocational crisis. And while the numbers might be down, there is no crisis in my mind when I witness and experience the gift these men and so many more will be for the Church.
Events like ordinations or Masses of thanksgiving, (otherwise known as a first Mass) should cause great reflection for us all to think about how God is working and breathing in His Church. Over the last few days, I have been thinking about how radical God’s call can be.
Check it out…God has called certain men to serve as His priests. To change bread and wine into the body and blood of His Son. To forgive sins. To heal the sick. To anoint the dying and prepare them for Heaven. He has called the young and old, with many different gifts and graces to BE HIS and most importantly to BE HIM. With this call they are called to be unmarried, live simply, and live in obedience to their superiors. Their lives become a true gift of themselves and it is all so God may be known and so all might come to know His love and salvation. How radical!
At the same time, God has called other men and women to the religious life - a way of life that is based on being consecrated to Jesus and living out vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. These people also are called to live a certain way depending on the charism of a particular order or way of life. Men and women in this time and place are give up everything in their lives to go and serve the poor of the nation and world, to teach, to be missionaries, and even to serve those who are sick and dying. What a true gift of self - something very different than how our culture tells us to live.
Lastly, we must not forget how God calls men and women together to commit their lives to one another and to Him in the Sacrament of Marriage. Often times we seem to think that marriage is a leftover life for those who are not called to a religious vocation. For the record, not every holy man and holy woman is called to the priesthood or religious life. Marriage today must be even more radical as it is also a call to be selfless and a gift to the other person. God wants marriages to be lived in a radical love and openness to life that truly can change the world. There is nothing more inspiring to me and my vocation than to see a committed married couple truly living their call to marriage radically. I think couples who come together and commit themselves to radical marriage is what will save our culture.
I share with you my thoughts on God’s call because it is true that God is calling all of us young people to live radically this very day. I don’t know about you, but I am inspired to strive for greatness when I read about the martyrs and those who have give their very lives for Jesus. Let them be examples for us to choose to live a radical life for Jesus and His gospel no matter what our vocation is. It is only they way we will ever be truly fulfilled.
May God be praised for calling all of us to a radical way of life.
God Bless You,
* Catholic News Agency columns are opinion and do not necessarily express the perspective of the agency.