Monday, February 22, 2010

Random Musings: Vocation, Newman, Priesthood

As I read the venerable Cardinal's spiritual autobiography, I cannot help but be swayed towards studying theology at the least, and entering the priesthood at the most.

Throughout Lent, I've been trying to pray for clarity in my vocation. This is difficult as I find God rarely speaks to me, or more accurately, I rarely discern his Providence until I look back in reflection. But as I read stories about the greatness of saints (in my opinion) of folks like Newman and anti-Nazi clerics and others in Germany inspired by his theology of conscience, I feel like there could be no greater honor than to give me life in the service of our Lord.

I don't know what I'll do with my life, but to phrase things this way I thought: 'what do I want my wikipedia page to say?' My first thought was: how many amazing Christians who have given their lives in labouring for Christ's Kingdom do not have wikipedia pages. I don't want one either. But if by the felicitous grace of God I one day have one, I want it to say Priest.

I am far too tempted to this life in favor of titles or glory in service of so great a thing as the Catholic Church. The only thing that helps me avoid this temptation to pride is the title Priest.

Contrary to what many Protestants think, Catholics (Orthodox, and Anglican as well) do not believe there to be a Catholic Priesthood, there is only the priesthood of Christ. To be a Catholic priest is to be one who offers himself to act in persona Christi to share in Christ's eternal priesthood, and to offer the same perfect sacrifice that only Christ could offer. In the same way that the only ministry is the sharing of the apostolic ministry, the only priesthood is the sharing of the priesthood of Christ.

So if you remember that you are a priest, it is not to remember that you are greater than someone else, but to remember that you are imitating someone else, namely, Jesus.

I'm uncertain, I'm still far too undisciplined for such a life. But if I could persevere to the level of holiness befitting to one of the servants of God, how awesome would life be?

At present, I am terrified to participate in the Mass at all because of my fear of upsetting the divine liturgy/screwing up (I remind myself of Luther, except far less holy than he). Luckily our assistant Chaplain forced me to do a reading the other day, and hillariously on the way back to my seat, I tripped once or twice (without falling face down though) and everyone was disappointed that such a potentially entertaining disaster was avoided.

Anyway, all this self-reflection is probably unhealthy, I should even consider the priesthood until I can actually successfully live the Christian life as a layman. God has given me a head and a bit of a heart, so I do theology and teach the faith wherever possible, he would have to move my hands if I were to become a priest.


  1. "God equips the called." -- Protestant aphorism/cliche (which I agree with).

    I would read The Power and the Glory and some Father Brown mysteries--dumpy, unimpressive little priests striving to be like Christ.

  2. Just like you and I, priests are just people; struggling every day with the call to holiness, and often falling short. If you feel a possible call to this vocation (and yes, that can be manifested in an attraction), then I'm sure your parish priest or Diocesan Vocations Director would be thrilled to assist you in your discernment.

    Praying for you!

  3. Thank you both very much.

    I was always taught that in Evangelical Bible School "God doesn't call the equiped, he equips the called".

    I'll talk to my chaplain on campus who works with our diocesan office, and perhaps they'll be able to help.