MCNEILLIE: The joy of vocation - A lifetime of preparation
May 28, 2019
Saturday, June 1, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo is set to ordain seven men to the priesthood. This is the largest priestly ordination in decades. While that fact alone is exciting, it’s not the deepest reason to be joyful. What’s deeply joyful about this year’s ordination is something present at every ordination — the joy of vocation.
The joy of vocation is the kind of joy men and women experience when they live their vocation. It’s a fulfillment that comes from a life well-lived, a purpose being accomplished, that bubbles over and spills out into everything they do.
Pope Francis speaks about this joy in his new exhortation, Christus Vivit:
“I want you to know that, when the Lord thinks of each of you and what He wants to give you, He sees you as His close friend. And if He plans to grant you a grace, a charism that will help you live to the full and become someone who benefits others, someone who leaves a mark in life, it will surely be a gift that will bring you more joy and excitement than anything else in this world. Not because that gift will be rare or extraordinary, but because it will perfectly fit you. It will be a perfect fit for your entire life.” (§ 288)
Because living one’s vocation is a long process, this joy is not experienced all at once, but there are moments in life where one’s vocation and its joy reaches a zenith, a peak moment. These are definitive moments in our life; our life has been leading up to this moment, and everything moves forward from it. These moments make sense of everything, like being on a mountain top and seeing everything behind and before you with utter clarity.
Because living one’s vocation is a long process, this joy is not experienced all at once, but there are moments in life where one’s vocation and its joy reaches a zenith, a peak moment.
For a lot of us, this is why we’re working in the vocations ministry. In the same way that Christians spread the Gospel because we want others to have the joy of encountering and following Christ, vocations ministers work because we want others to have the joy of vocation, the same joy we had on our ordination day or wedding.
And weddings are a great example of vocational joy. By their wedding day, couples have been through a lot together. In that moment, they can look back on what God has done for them, and look forward to a lifelong journey. But there’s something about ordination that’s special. While friends and family are the ones who share the couple’s joy of vocation, the whole local Church shares in the joy of ordination.
This June 1, seven men will give their lives to the whole local Church in a profound way. As in a wedding, there’s a lot that went into this one day. These men have been preparing for it for at least seven years, and in turn, God has been preparing them for ordination for their entire life. And as they finish the Mass, their lives will be different going forward, profoundly changed.
Share in this year’s vocational joy and come to the June 1st ordination, or check us out live at www.archgh.org/live.
Father Richard McNeillie is the director of the Archdiocesan Office of Vocations Ministry.