Priests and seminarians often receive mail from grade school classes in a display of appreciation for our willingness to follow God’s call in service of the church.
by Father Scott Wallisch
It is encouraging for us to hear from the students. I received one of these encouraging letters last week. The young writer thanked me for “giving up everything for God” and then wrote:
“You and all priests should have people coming up to your door and thanking you nonstop!” A nice sentiment, but fortunately that is not what happens, because we would never get anything accomplished (like finishing articles for The Leaven.)
No, there is no long line of the grateful formed outside my office door, but, in my three years as a priest, I have rarely found the priesthood to be a thankless life. In fact, I have received many more signs of appreciation than I could ever deserve.
Really, it is me that should be grateful. I am grateful. I am grateful for this wonderful archdiocese, our wonderful archbishops, my dedicated fellow priests, and the beautiful people of God in northeast Kansas that
fill my days with joy. Most importantly, though, I am grateful to God simply for my priesthood. My calling is a gift beyond value.
All callings, all vocations, are gifts from God. They are wonderful, thoughtful gifts, custom-made for each of us by our Creator. Yet, there are many young persons who are uncomfortable with the thought that God may have gifted them with a call to the priesthood or religious life.
I know this firsthand in my own life. I had inclinations ever since grade school that I might be called to the priesthood. I wasn’t thrilled about the prospect of a life as a priest, though, so for years I stood in the gift return line, thinking I could find a different vocation better suited for me.
I wanted to exchange for a successful career in the world, a beautiful wife, and lots of cute, talented children. When I finally got to the front of the line, though, I discovered that nothing fit me as perfectly as the priesthood. I found that God was pretty good at picking out gifts.
The priesthood is a gift now for which I am so grateful. My hope, as vocation director, is that all of you young men and women will also come to see your vocational call as a gift. There is no need to try an exchange, thinking that you can make a better life for yourself than God can. Instead, trustingly embrace the vocation to which he has called you.
Believe me, if you do, you will be eternally grateful.
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