Vocation Friday

God has given me an amazing weekend! My heart was filled with love and joy, and I felt His presence throughout the events of the past few days. He is always with us, but I treasure those times where I really feel that He is with me.

I was so full of squee today that I am sure that I was annoying to the people around me. I just wanted to hug everyone. I didn’t, but the impulse was there.

Some of my thoughts from the day:
“I have amazing friends.
God loves me.
I don’t need anything beyond what I have, and still he gives me more. :)”

I am excited about maybe being able to go to the upcoming diaconate ordinations. I don’t yet have the same love for the diaconate as I do for the presbyterate, but I’m hoping that perhaps this ordination will help me expand my love for all ordinati. 🙂

About lunchtime, I had these thoughts:
“God allowed for the existence of peanut-butter topped cinnamon sugar toasted bagels.
God is my friend. :)”
It was mentioned that God also allowed for marshmallows and their fluff (which I wholly despise and reject as the source of all evil), so I had to note that God does permit for bad things to happen, sometimes. Quite obviously, marshmallow fluff is not of God. 🙂

Then, the Holy Spirit had me do something I had not intended to do.
See, I have a vocation as an intercessor. God has given me a particular person to pray for, and I pray for him daily. Beyond daily, really, almost constantly. 🙂 Because he happens to be a priest, I took one of those Chalice of Strength books a while back because it contains many prayers specifically for priests, and I thought that might be helpful to me. I noted at the time that there was an organization with which you could register as spiritually adopting a specific priest and they would send you biannual newsletters and suggestions for ways in which you could pray for the priests and the priesthood in general. I decided not to do this. This is a job that God has given to me and I felt that I didn’t need the recognition of having some sort of “membership” to give authenticity to this. I wasn’t doing this so as to be part of a community or anything, but because God wanted me to do it. I did not feel at the time that God was calling me to this organization.

Earlier in the summer, as I was taking a walk, I felt God speaking to me about the angels and encouraging me to ask them for their intercession, particularly as it applies to my vocation in praying for my one particular priest, and in general for all priests. Okay. I kind of noted this at the time, but as more time passed, I hadn’t really incorporated this into my daily prayers. I let it fall off the plate.

During lunch, I pulled out my Chalice of Strength book (which I don’t do all that often, really), and the little flyer in the back fell out. So, again, I read about signing up with their organization to spiritually adopt a priest. I, grudgingly, went to their website and took a look – highly skeptical of the website’s ability to make me interested in their program.

However, when I got there, my mind was changed. The organization was called “Opus Sanctorum Angelorum,” or “The Work of the Holy Angels”. Hmm. Angels.

As I read more, their program is really there to support you as you pray for priests, with the help of the angels, which is basically the message that I have been getting. They were an anonymous organization, so that I wouldn’t be recognized in any way – which was important to me. I just want to do God’s will. I began to realize that maybe God wants this for me now. To help me be a better intercessor.

There were two choices: you could (a) either submit a name of a man whom you already know as someone who you would permanently spiritually adopt or (b) ask for the name of someone for whom you would pray for a year, and at the end of the year, on the Feast of the Sacred Heart, you would get the name of a different person. You could request a priest, bishop, seminarian or a man discerning his vocation.

Well, God already gave me one person, and I felt that he was definitely permanent, so I submitted his name for that. By doing that, I did not feel in any way that this “legitimized” my calling to pray for him, since I felt that I already had all the legitimacy that I needed – that this was a true calling for me to be his intercessor.

As I was on the website, I kept looking at it. There was something more for me here. I had one permanent, adopted “child” already. But there was something about this yearly program. So, after some prayer, I decided to enroll in this program, too. Since it is only a year commitment, I saw it as more of a “foster parent” arrangement. 🙂

So, in a way, I am expecting. Similar to a pregnant woman looking forward to the birth of a new child, I am waiting to be gifted with a new child of my own – to love, care for and, most important of all, to pray for.

With this new commitment, I anticipate being asked to give more of my time and myself for their benefit. I pray for strength and grace to truly be able to act as a good intercessor on their behalf and to follow God’s direction. I pray for the grace to become more holy, so that my prayers may be more efficacious for their good. I pray for them, personally, and for their vocations. I pray for all of us that we may answer God’s call anew every day and, as is written in Ephesians, to “live a life worthy of your vocation.”

As a final bonus to my Friday, Fr. Acervo is giving a talk “On the Priesthood.” My day could not get any better! 🙂 I love God! 🙂

Pontiff Proclaims Year for Priests

From Zenit:

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 16, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is proclaiming a Year for Priests on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the death of St. Jean Marie Vianney, the Curé of Ars.

The Pope announced this today during an audience granted to participants in the plenary assembly of the Congregation for the Clergy, a Vatican communiqué reported.

The theme for the priestly year is “Faithfulness of Christ, Faithfulness of Priests.” The Pope is scheduled to open the year with a celebration of vespers June 19, the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in the presence of the relic of the Curé of Ars, to be brought to Rome by Bishop Guy Bagnard of Belley-Ars, the press release stated.

The closing ceremony will take place exactly one year later, with a World Meeting of Priests in St. Peter’s Square.

During this year, a directory for confessors and spiritual directors will be published, along with a compilation of texts by the Pope on the core issues of the life and mission of priests in the modern times. As well, Benedict XVI will officially proclaim St. Jean Marie Vianney as “patron saint of all the priests of the world.”

The congregation will aim in this year to promote initiatives that will “highlight the role and mission of the clergy in the Church and in modern society.”

Another goal will be to address “the need to intensify the permanent formation of priests, associating it with that of seminarians.”

An entire year devoted to our priests! I love it! Love it, love it, love it! Thank you, Holy Father!

In an article talking of the importance of priestly ministry and of the distinction between the ordained priesthood and the priesthood we are all called to due to our baptism:

The Pope stressed the importance of the ministry, without which “there would be no Eucharist, no mission, not even the Church” and he recalled that the mission of the priest “has its roots in a special way in a good formation, carried out in communion with unbroken ecclesial Tradition, without pausing or being tempted by discontinuity.”

“In this regard,” he continued, “it is important to encourage priests, especially the young generations, to correctly read the texts of the Second Vatican Council, interpreted in the light of all the Church’s doctrinal inheritance.”

The Pontiff spoke about the urgent need for priests to be “present, identifiable and recognizable — for their judgment of faith, personal virtues and attire — in the fields of culture and of charity which have always been at the heart of the Church’s mission.”

He said the mission of the priest concerns the Church, communion, hierarchy and doctrine, and added that these aspects should not be separated.

He explained: “The mission is ecclesial because no one announces or brings themselves, but rather in and through his own humanity, every priest should be very conscious of bringing Another, God himself, to the world. God is the only treasure that, definitively, mankind wishes to find in a priest.”

The Holy Father said the mission concerns communion “because it takes place in a unity and communion which only at a secondary level possess important aspects of social visibility. These, moreover, are derived essentially from that divine intimacy of which the priest is called to be an expert, so that he can bring, with confidence and humility, the souls entrusted to him to the same meeting with the Lord.”

He said that “the ‘hierarchical’ and ‘doctrinal’ dimensions emphasize the importance of ecclesiastical discipline — a term related to that of ‘disciple’ — and of doctrinal — not just theological, initial and permanent — formation.”

The Pope concluded by urging those present to discover the centrality of Jesus Christ who gives meaning and value to the ministerial priesthood.

He added, “As Church and as priests we announce Jesus of Nazareth, Lord and Christ, crucified and risen, Sovereign of time and history, in the joyful certainty that this truth coincides with the deepest hopes of the human heart.”

I absolutely believe in the necessity and blessing of a visible, valid, faithful and orthodox priesthood. These are our shepherds — the men who guide us and care for us and bring us life. They provide us access to Jesus in the sacraments, break open the Word of God for us, demonstrate to us a holy life and what it means to love our neighbor and give our entire selves in service to others. They give and they love, and they help us to do the same.