Have you ever considered life as a priest, nun, or member of a religious community? Do you have what it takes to commit to that life? Is God calling you? These are not easy questions to answer. How about lay ministries in the Church? Would you like to be a greeter? Would you like to be a lector? Would you like to be on the Fundraising Committee? All of these are good questions and all should be addressed, but the real question behind each is the real thrust of today’s article.
Fresh from the vigors of the annual Ministry Fair in our Parish, I wanted to explain to people who are coming to Church that everyone should have a ministry. The Church needs this to happen but more importantly you need this to happen. Many people view Church as a weekly, monthly, or semi-annual one hour visit to the Church. This would put it on the same level as a yearly doctor’s exam. This is wrong, wrong, wrong.
Church is more than sixty minutes, it is more than a one time event, it is someplace that should educate you on your eternal future. If we invest money for our retirement here on earth, should we not invest time here on earth for our salvation in the hereafter? People will say, “I am too busy, I get to Church too late, I can not speak in front of other people, and I do not know if I can make it every Sunday?”
What would God say to those excuses? I am too busy- always give a task to a busy person because they know how to time manage and get things done. So if someone tells you that they are too busy, they actually qualify themself for the position. Explain to them nicely, “Thank you so very much, I believe you have just volunteered for this position.”
I get to Church too late. Smile and explain, “Exactly what God is telling you, get here on time. We need you to learn this skill. God would never test you past your tolerance and this is a lesson that I believe you will need more now than ever.
I only come to Church once or twice a year. Smile and explain, I know that is what you are doing now, but you are much more talented than that and I believe in you. You have a great deal to offer the Church and I feel like you would come more frequently if you were involved. Can you imagine Tom Brady missing the Super Bowl if his team qualified? Of course not. This is the same for us. How can you prepare for the hereafter if you are not willing to face the present?
God did not create losers or lazy people, you have unfortunately done that to yourself. We have taught ourselves to behave in this way and we can be just as easily untaught. A thriving Church depends upon every single member of the Parish having a ministry and living their Catholic life not one a day but 24 hours a day. In our Pro Life Ministry we have the 40 Days for Life Campaign, today I am calling for the beginning of new evangelization- A 24 Hours For Christ Daily Campaign. You live for Christ and you represent the Church 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Some people will laugh and make fun of this idea. How can you possibly live every minute of every day for Christ? The answer is simple- you put Christ in your life first. You do this because by putting him first in this life you will do not only what He wants us to do, we are truly doing something positive about the climate change problem we have on earth. We need climate change here on earth. Not the one people are currently talking about, but a real climate change- we need to change the minds of people about what it takes to be a Christian.
Working out your salvation is not a one time event. It is a 24/7 365 event that should be the main reason why you live everyday. Now, you get from the beginning of this article that we should work diligently everyday to help our parish priest. We need more good priests.
This was a real interest of Pope Leo XIII. Pope Leo XIII called for this:
To the noble end of preparing worthy ministers of the Lord, it is necessary, venerable brethren, to watch with an ever-increasing vigor and vigilance not only over the scientific instruction, but also over the disciplinary and educative systems of your seminaries. Do not accept young men other than those who exhibit well-founded desires of consecrating themselves forever to the ecclesiastical ministry. Keep them removed from contact and still more from living together with youths who are not aspiring to the sacred ministry. Such intercourse may, for certain just and grave reasons, be allowed for a time, and with great caution, until they can be properly provided for according to the spirit of ecclesiastical discipline. Those who during the course of their education shall manifest tendencies little suited to the priestly vocation, must be dismissed, and in admitting clerics to the sacred orders the utmost discretion must be used, according to the grave admonition of St. Paul to Timothy, "Manus cito nemini imposueris." In this matter it is only right that every consideration should be put on one side that is inferior to the most important one of the dignity of the sacred ministry. It is, therefore, of the greatest importance that in order to render the pupils of the sanctuary living images of Jesus Christ (which is the end of ecclesiastical education), that the directors and teachers should unite to the diligent fulfilment of their office the example of a truly priestly life. The exemplary conduct of those in authority is, especially to young men, the most eloquent and persuasive language to inspire in their souls the conviction of their own duties and the love of virtue.
We meet many people in the course of our lives. Some people influence us, and we in turn influence many of the people who we meet. However, I have never met a person like I had an opportunity to meet this summer. He had personality, empathy, compassion, and a very special spirit about him. He was a seminarian. He was a seminarian like Pope Leo XIII mentioned- a person who was living a Christ centered life and a person you could talk to. He was in other words, the type of person when he would become a priest that you would enjoy going to his parish. Pope Leo XIII never met this young man, but he described. I never met Pope Leo XIII but I have described him. However, I have met this young man-and my life has been changed forever. It has been changed because through his actions I have learned that the words of Pope Leo XIII were true and could have described him perfectly. This is what we need for a more dynamic Church. We need more dynamic, personable young men entering the Priesthood, and everyone in the Church in an active ministry. Amen. Comments below.