Crisis: Would YOU Encourage A Young Person to be a Priest or Religious?editor
“Come, Follow Me.”
“GOOD MASTER, what good shall I do that I may have life everlasting?” It was the eager question of one whom fortune had blessed with the wealth of this world, but who realised that life eternal was a far more precious treasure. He had come to the Divine Teacher, seeking what he must yet do to make secure the great prize for which he was striving. He was young and wealthy, a ruler in the land, one whose life had been without stain or blemish.
“The Commandments? – All these I have kept from my youth,” he had said; “Good Master, what is yet wanting to me?”
Jesus looked on him with love, for such a soul was dear to His Sacred Heart. “ If thou wilt be perfect,” comes the answer, “go sell what thou hast and give to the poor, and come, follow Me.”
There was a painful pause: nature and grace were struggling for the mastery; the invitation had been given, the road to perfection pointed out. There was only one sacrifice needed to make him a true disciple, but it was a big one, too great for him who lately seemed so generous. He hesitates, wavers, and then sadly turns away, with the words “Come, follow Me,” ringing in his ears, for love of his “great possessions” had wrapped itself round his heart – a Vocation had been offered and refused. “What a cloud of misgivings,” says Father Faber, “must hang over the memory of him whom Jesus invited to follow Him. Is he looking now in heaven upon that Face from whose mild beauty he so sadly turned away on earth?”
Nearly two thousand years have passed since then, but unceasingly that same Voice has been whispering in the ears of many a lad and maiden, “One thing is yet wanting to you – come, follow Me.” Some have heard that voice with joy and gladness of heart, and have risen up at the Master’s call; others have stop their ears, or turned away in fear from the side of Him Who beckoned to them, while not a few have stood and listened, wondering what it meant, asking themselves could such an invitation be for them, till Jesus of Nazareth passed by and they were left behind for ever.
To these, chiefly, is this simple explanation of a Vocation offered, in the hope that they may recognize the workings of grace within their souls, or be moved to beg that they may one day be sharers in this crowning gift of God’s eternal love. Click here to read more from the writings of Fr Doyle SJ on vocations…
I’ve found myself in a number of conversations in recent years, where I’ve been asked whether or not, despite the crisis in the Church, I would encourage young people to try their vocations to the priesthood and religious life. I’m always torn between saying that I would encourage them – although afraid that I may, thus, find myself an instrument of setting them on a road where they may lose the Faith – or saying that I would discourage them – and perhaps, therefore, be the cause of blocking God’s work in a soul. Quite a dilemma.
Some people think there’s no dilemma – just suggest that they enter traditional seminaries and Orders. Then others again point out the possible danger of a certain extremism in those quarters. So, what’s the answer. Would YOU encourage a boy who is thinking of the priesthood, to go ahead – and if so, details please! Or a young person who might feel called to the Religious Life; what would you suggest is the safest route for them to try their vocation, if you think they ought to do so.
Read Father Doyle’s short work and then share your thoughts on this important subject.