No Vacation from a Vocation

Just like any other school, seminarians look forward to breaks. Whether it’s Christmas, summer vacation, or spring break, you can be sure that seminarians are ready to leave. Their cars are running in the parking lot during their last class and their bags have been packed for weeks. But as sure as you can be that the only book seminarians are taking with is their breviary, is that this axiom will be said: “There is no vacation from your vocation.”

This is a friendly reminder not to give up your prayer life. When the men go home, it’s easy to fall into old habits. Whether these vices are laziness, impurity, or language, it’s a natural thing to revert to when you are surrounded by your childhood memories. But it is at this time when the virtue of prayer truly begins to blossom.

St. Thomas says that virtue takes practice. This spiritual truth is best explained by Morgan Freeman in the movie Evan Almighty. We can’t expect to develop our prayer life without the opportunity to do so. True growth happens when we have the opportunity not to grow, but choose to do so anyway.

So what does this have to do with discerning the priesthood or religious life? The same principle applies. It’s easy to feel drawn to a vocation when you are at your weekly holy hour at the local Catholic Church or hanging out at a Newman center. You are surrounded by like-minded people who are supportive and foster a culture of faith. But when you go home to your parents’ house or at a bar with old high school friends, it gets harder. It’s not difficult to talk about the way Jesus has worked in your life in the context of a FOCUS Bible Study, but what about bringing it up to your brother who doesn’t go to church anymore?

Brothers and sisters, this is how you grow. You don’t prove your love to your spouse by always buying her fancy things. You prove your love to her by getting up at 3am to attend to the crying baby. Weekly Holy Hours at school are a wonderful and necessary thing for someone discerning a vocation, but even more necessary is getting up to go to daily Mass at 7am when you are on spring break. Make the choice to love God. He makes the choice to love you.

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