On Friday, 11 June 2021, the Church celebrated World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of Priests on the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus to remind all priests to model themselves after the heart of Jesus. Priests have dedicated themselves to this sacred calling and devoted themselves in serving God and His people. As they take part in their various ministries, each priest should take the example of the Sacred Heart of Jesus within their own hearts, to be filled with love, tenderness, mercy, compassion and forgiveness. On this day, the Church prays for our Priests to live a life of holiness, and to be role models to our young generation, in responding to the Call of God.
I was reading about the vocation story of our Holy Father Pope Francis, recently. As a young boy, Jorge Mario Bergoglio promised his mother, Regina, that he would become a doctor – “a doctor for souls.” His mother was so proud that her eldest son, who was 19 years old then, would be a great doctor in the future. Since her house was a little crowded and noisy, she prepared a little room just for Jorge to spend time studying. Jorge told his mom that he would take care of cleaning his little room and there was no need for her to trouble herself to do it.
One day, knowing Jorge was too occupied with his studies, she decided to clean her son’s room. She discovered there were plenty of books on theology and philosophy instead of medical books. She was furious and she waited for her son to come back home. Once Jorge arrived, she asked “You told me you were studying medicine and why did you lie to me?” Jorge replied that he was studying medicine – for souls. It is interesting to see how God worked mysteriously in Jorge’s life, and now he is the Pope – the “doctor for souls” of the Universal Church.
Many parents have their own dreams for their children and they never fail in motivating, encouraging and giving hope to achieve these goals and ambitions. In this present world, I really don’t know how many parents encourage their children towards Priestly or Religious life. Our Parish of St Joseph, Sentul, has produced 13 priests and 2 nuns thus far, but it has been more than 10 years since new vocations have emerged among our young people.
When I expressed my desire of wanting to be a priest, my parents strongly objected. I really struggled and found it hard to discern God’s will. If you were to ask any of our Priests or Religious, you would discover how they too struggled with their own personal vocation.
Our young people may find it very challenging to discern God’s will. Here is a little prayer to assist you in your discernment. It was composed by Fr Francis Xavier Lasance, and it can be found in his book entitled “My Prayer Book, Happiness In God,” originally published in 1908.
“Loving God, whenever it may become my duty to make a choice, be my light and my counsel, and mercifully make the way known to me wherein I should walk. Preserve me from listening to the suggestions of my own selfish desires, or worldly prudence, giving preference to your inspirations. Let your good spirit lead me into the right way, and let your providence place me, not where I may naturally feel inclined to go, but where all things may be most conducive to your glory and to the good of my soul. Mary, Mother of Good Counsel, Seat of Wisdom, Help of Christians, pray for me.”
Rev. Fr. George Packiasamy