Here we go again. That’s right, it’s another installment of our analyses of the American Catholic Solidarity prayers. Today we take a look at the “Prayer for Vocations”.
“Heavenly Father, You bestow gifts on human beings for the upbupriests who are ing of Your Church, and the salvation of the whole world.”
We start this prayer off by addressing God the Father. It is important to address God as Father, because the view of God as Father is unique to Christianity. A good father always takes care of his children; and God is the best Father.
We then acknowledge the real reason God bestows His gifts on us. It isn’t so that we may obtain human praise for ourselves. It isn’t to achieve money, fame, or power. God bestows His gifts on us so that we may use them to draw people into the Church. By doing so we will help to save souls. That is what life is about.
“Pour out Your Spirit to inspire young people with the desire to follow You more closely.”
Next we ask God to dispense the Holy Spirit on the young, so they may seek to be closer to Him. God surely understands this petition as requesting greater numbers of young people be drawn to the religious life. For what better way to be closer to God, than adopt the religious life. One has the opportunity to live completely for God. We need this now more than ever. It seems fewer and fewer young people are concerned with things of God. The last thing on their minds is the religious life!
“Grant Your powerful and continuing assistance to all who respond to Your call, so that they may remain faithful to their vocation throughout their lives.”
We not only desire more vocations to the religious life. We desire greater fidelity to it. Too many of the few who do enter the religious life wind up leaving it. This must end, but God’s help is necessary. Our prayer here acknowledges our need for God’s help.
“May they become living signs of Christ, freed from money, pleasure, and power.”
This is a huge problem within the Catholic Church. Way too many bishops and priest get wrapped up in the prestige, influence, and power of their position. The job of the hierarchy is to be pastors and servants to the people. A good leader never lords his position over those under his care. He attends to their needs. Even those the people are unaware of. That is why Jesus washed the feet of His Apostles at the Last Supper.
Yet much of the hierarchy (especially the bishops) are too concerned with the prestige and influence of their office. They either focus on these things, or they focus on trying to be popular. That is not what we need. We need bishops and priests who are concerned with being examples of holiness for us. We desperately need clergymen who truly seek to imitate Christ! That leads us to the end of the prayer.
“May they be outstanding witnesses of Your kingdom where You live and reign forever and ever. Amen.”
We do not just want holy clergymen. We want and need outstandingly holy clergymen! We don’t want men like Fr. Marcial Maciel, Cardinal Mahony, or Bishop Gallatin. Not to insult these clergymen, but they are clearly not the best examples. We want and need men like St. John Mary Vianney, St. Charles Borromeo, or Pope St. John Paul II. Men concerned with saving souls, not men concerned with their “career”, reputation, or political correctness.
And it doesn’t stop there. We need better examples for our daughters, too. No more do we wish to have nuns like Sr. Jeannine Gramick. We want more nuns like Mother Angelica of EWTN! No more dour, cranky nuns. We want nuns who are full of joy at having the greatest spouse a woman could ever want. Their spouse is Jesus Christ. What more could you want?
The “Prayer for Vocations” isn’t just about quantity. Actually, it’s more about quality. It does us no good to have the Church’s halls busting at the seams with religious who provide us and our children with poor examples. We need religious who provide us with a superb example of holiness. Better to have very few holy religious, than a large number of worldly religious.
Peace in Christ,
David J. Pollard
American Catholic Solidarity