A very joyful Fourth Sunday of Easter to all our readers, Good Shepherd Sunday, dedicated to prayer for vocations, especially to the priesthood, that men may follow Christ, and ‘lay down their life for the sheep’, who are all too often scattered and without a shepherd, or led by shepherds who lead them astray. We need a few more certain voices out there who ‘speak with authority’, with all the courage that takes.
The celibacy and total dedication required for the priesthood is just such a ‘laying down of one’s life’, especially in youth, when, as Pope John Paul II wrote, is the time when Christ calls most of us to our life-long vocations, that path that will most determine who we are, along with what we do.
Prescinding from our current hedonistic milieu immersed in the (apparent) joys of illicit sex, we should not underestimate the true joy of married, conjugal life, and that there a true martyrdom in giving that up, making an Abrahamic sacrifice to God; but He is not stingy with the far deeper and more lasting spiritual joys in return. We should remember that, in the end, we will all be like Christ and the angels, ‘neither marrying, nor being given in marriage’, and that heaven is our true homeland.
So pray for the men God is calling to the priesthood to lead us to heaven, that they, like Elijah, may listen to that ‘still, small voice’ echoing in their hearts, their conscience, and set their faces like flint against the allures of the world, so that they may follow Christ, wherever He may take them.