The invitation to Christian life which in the time of our Lord was rejected by the Jewish people, is offered to all! We can also see in it a special invitation to follow a particular vocation: a call to the priesthood, to consecration to God.
In order to respond to this vocation our assent must be more than normal. It must involve the sincere and profound commitment of our whole soul. This invitation must be embraced heart and soul and without striving, by our works to live in a manner worthy of the vocation. We must be clothed in a nuptial garment, that is, in the robe of grace and virtue befitting the vocation.
Without going to these extremes, we can still remain far from complete correspondence to the divine call. It is well to remember that the problem of corresponding to a vocation is not one that can be resolved once and for all on the day that we embrace a particular state of life; it is a question that arises every day, because each day of our vocation calls for a new response, a fresh adherence adapted to the circumstances and grace of the moment.
A vocation attains its full realization only by our continual fidelity to God’s invitations. These invitations follow one another without interruption and reveal to the attentive soul ever new horizons, presenting new duties, new opportunities for generosity, and new aspects of perfection and immolation. “Many are called but few are chosen.” Why are only a few chosen? Because they are the few who know how to correspond day by day with the grace of their vocation: because there are few who know how to accept all the consequences and demands of the divine call, and who always answer yes to the solicitation of grace.
“O Lord, this is what You say to my soul: ‘Why are you so far away from Me, detained by useless pursuits? Why do you not hasten to prepare a beautiful wedding garment? I suffered death to take you for My spouse. I became man for you, to preserve your life from corruption, I preferred your salvation before all My works. I prepared a nuptial couch for you in heaven, and I commanded the angels to serve you. Would you despise Me, your heavenly Spouse? And whom would you prefer to Me, who in My mercy saved the whole human race? What father could give you life as I have? What father or what spouse can love you as much as I?’
“O my God, what shall I answer you?
“Pardon me, save me, O patient, long suffering Lord! Save me, O Christ, Son of God, who alone are without sin! Grant that my heart may have no desire but to respond to Your invitations, and that with the help of Your grace, I may always do your will, and be prompt and willing to carry out Your orders, so that, with the talents I have received from You, I may be able to trade and acquire the good things of Your kingdom. Grant that I may praise You trustfully and tell You joyfully when I see You: ‘I am blessed because You have come to clothe me with the worthy nuptial garment which Your grace has purchased for me.’
"I shall light the lamp, O Christ, given to me by Your grace and bounty. I shall meet You joyfully, blessing, praising, and glorifying You, O my immortal Spouse” (St. Ephrem).
Please join me in praying for Vocations for our diocese and remember in prayer our Seminarians.
Have a very blessed week!
Father Mark Groeger is the Parish Administrator of Prince of Peace Church in Northern Cambria, PA.
Prince of Peace