By Fr. Joseph Delka
“So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt 5:48). That’s a tall order! Yet the Lord isn’t messing around. He calls us to something great. He calls us to be holy. To be holy and follow Christ is the greatest challenge and the deepest fulfillment of our lives. Holiness is meant for everyone, without exception. While all are called to follow Christ, not everyone does it in exactly the same way. Just as the human body has different parts all working together, so also the Church is made up of many members all working together in different ways according to God’s will.
The “particular vocations” of priesthood, diaconate, marriage, and consecrated religious life are what we usually mean by “vocation” – a call from God for a particular work in the world.
For now I want to highlight the call to the priesthood. From among the baptized faithful God calls certain men to ministry as ordained priests. These men act in the person of Jesus Christ. They sanctify God’s people by renewing the spark of divine life within them through the sacraments. Through the priest bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ, our sins our forgiven, the sick are anointed, and the dying are brought home to God. Through the priest Christ teaches and sanctifies his people to equip them to do the Lord’s work in the world. It is a life of service in imitation of Christ who came to serve and not to be served.
To all the young men out there: Ask the Lord about your vocation. He is calling you to something, and maybe it is priesthood. Don’t be afraid to ask and don’t be afraid of the answer! If it is God’s will that you become a priest, then you can be sure it will bring you the deepest joy and fulfillment. I assure you that God’s imagination is much bigger and far more interesting than ours! Whatever He has in store for you is definitely the best thing, even if it surprises you. Do not be afraid to follow Him! Also, no one should discern alone. Talk to your pastor. Also feel free to contact us at the Vocations Office. We are here to help you listen to the Spirit and respond generously.
To all the faithful: Our future priests don’t come from some mythical place “out there.” They are among your sons, grandsons, nephews and brothers. God never stops calling, but many stop listening. Pray for them. Encourage them to seek God’s will above all else and to not be afraid to follow Him.
Father Joseph Delka is the Diocese of Salt Lake City Vocations Director. For information, about vocations, visit https://www.dioslc.org/offices/vocations, email Fr.firstname.lastname@example.org or call 801-328-8941 ext. 110.