Thursday, February 22, 2007

A Reader Discerns the Priesthood

Fr. Perrone during outdoor Benediction on August 15, 2006
Photo by Jeff Williams

A reader of this blog, "Kimo", has requested prayers as he discerns a calling to the priesthood. He writes:

"I wanted to request your prayers and those of your readers for my own vocational discernment. I've felt called to the holy priesthood/religious life since I was very young. I never felt that I was ever interiorly prepared enough for so great a vocation and thus far have not answered the call but I pray that through the intercession of Our Lady of Sorrows, St. Joseph, St. Aloysius Gonzaga that I will be shown where it is Our Lord wishes me to be in in what capacity He wishes me to serve Him."

This is a good reminder to not only keep in our prayers - priests, bishops and seminarians, but also discerning men and women.

If there are other readers who are discerning a call to the priesthood or religious life, please add your name (real or pseudoname) into the comment box. If you want to address those who are discerning, you may also do so in the comment box.

My Recommendations to those Discerning

I recommend to Kimo, and to all who are discerning a vocation to the priesthood or religious life to spend time each week before the Blessed Sacrament. Make a holy hour. If there is a chapel that has adoration all the better. Don't hesitate to stop in during off-hours to see if the church is accessible, especially if you are in a parish where people have not yet learned to maintain silence. Don't be frustrated with them, but pray for them, asking God to forgive them for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34). One of my old parishes, which I always thought was closed, is open through a back door from the administrative offices. I found I can go in any time the parish offices are open (usually until 8:00pm). I can kneel before the tabernacle in total isolation from any other human (no doubt the angels and saints are there adoring Him too). If in doubt, ask. If you just can't make it to a church, Fr. Perrone once told me to simply think about the closest church where there is the Eucharist and adore Our Lord in my heart.

All who are discerning really need to consider consecrating themselves to the Blessed Mother using the 33-Day Preparation by St. Louis de Montfort for the Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary Priests at my parish heavily encourage this for discerning men and women, as well as lay people. It begins 33 days before any major Marian feast day, such as the Annunication, Assumption, and Immaculate Conception. There is one that just began a few days ago leading up to the Annunciation on March 25, but I highly recommend starting fresh and gearing up to it rather than jumping in late. This preparation needs a strong committment. It starts out rather easy, but as the days go on, the time required to complete the prayers and readings get longer. Included soon after you begin is the Rosary daily. One word of caution: The Blessed Mother's first action is to clean house so be prepared for the preparation. You can find solace in this thread I started at Catholic Online as I was doing the Total Consecration Prep . Access to a good confessor is a great help. Those discerning should be making frequent confessions anyway. In many dioceses, even those that are seemingly progressive, somewhere in a nook or cranny is a quiet priest who values confession. He may be young, or he may be very old. It has nothing to do with age - it's a state of mind! Find him!!!

Those who struggle with the Rosary should read this post I made on the Rosary Confraternity's website.

This is also a good time to remind people within driving distance of Assumption Grotto that we have monthly holy hours for vocations on the first Sunday of the month after the noon Mass. We also have an adoration chapel. Those interested in visiting the chapel for the first time may want to call the sisters who maintain it to get instructions for entry. Convent: 313- 527-1739. They are always looking for more adorers.

A final reminder about praying for those discerning concerns the apostolate Opus Angelorum. At their website, they have an article about the need to pray for our priests. There is a whole list of prayers for priests listed at the bottom of that short article, including the beautiful Litany of our Lord Jesus Christ Priest and Victim. The sisters also handle spiritual adoption of priests, bishops, seminarians and discerning young men.