By: Rev. Brian Bashista
This past Saturday, Bishop Loverde ordained one of our seminarians to the transitional diaconate (two more seminarians will be ordained to the diaconate this fall in Rome). This upcoming Saturday, Bishop Loverde will ordain three men to serve as our newest diocesan priests. In light of these grace-filled events, I welcome this opportunity to share some thoughts about vocations as being “wedded” to another.
Wedded unions involve the offering of mutual love and support which then is open to bringing forth new life. For most men, this wedded life will be freely entered into with a wife through the beautiful sacrament of marriage and the openness to father children. For other men, those who are called to be priests, this wedded life will be freely entered into with a “Supernatural Wife,” the Church – the Spiritual Bride with whom they will form a new sacramental life and become spiritual fathers through the order of grace.
It is vital that we discover our vocations. Our fulfillment, our blessedness, our salvation, and, most importantly, the salvation of others, depend upon our acceptance of the mission, the vocation that Christ invites us to embrace.
So, how do we discover our vocation?
The first step is to talk to the One who created us. The first step is to pray, to talk and to listen to God.
The second step, similar the first, is to talk to others. Those called to the married life will talk to others about their journey– so too do those called to the priesthood. This is one of the major reasons why my office, the Office of Vocations, exists — to talk and to listen. Many men who meet with me never take the step to enter the seminary.
Praying, talking and listening to God and others are essential to discover a vocation; however, if someone simply does these alone he will never ultimately come to realize his true calling. He must act! Once someone has sensed that God might be calling him to this vocation or the other, he must act upon these inspirations rather than resist these promptings.
Someone who feels called to marriage can pray and talk about the vocation all he or she wants, but never come close to getting married. The person must act upon the promptings received in prayer and as a result of conversations. People must date and get to know each other. This is also true for someone who feels prompted to explore the possibility of a call to the priesthood. He can pray and have numerous conversations with others but never come close to taking the first step to act upon these promptings by applying to enter the seminary. In fact, a man who enters the seminary has no firm idea that he is called the priesthood, just that he senses that he might be. On the flip side, he is not being accepted by the bishop to enter the seminary to definitely become a priest, just that the bishop senses that he might be. It is as unrealistic for someone to be certain they will marry someone before they date them as it is for someone to be certain they are called to the priesthood before they enter the seminary. Dating is to marriage what seminary is to priesthood.
While the need is still so great, we are blessed in this diocese to have many affable, sacrificial and charitable young men who are seriously considering a call to the priesthood. These men were like so many others well on their way to becoming highly successful in the “eyes of the world,” but they are willing to give their lives to a supernatural reality which points “beyond this world.” We currently have 35 men in formation for the diocesan priesthood, and nearly 20 men and 30 women from the Diocese of Arlington in formation for religious orders.
Anyone wishing to more actively discern a vocation and to better understand sharing in Christ’s mission of salvation, may visit here or contact us at the Office of Vocations at (703) 841-2514.