Sunday, February 24, 2019

Hope for the Church

This afternoon, I was looking through old pictures on Instagram and was just filled with awe and gratitude for where God has led our family.

There's more than can ever be told here, but I look back over my own discernment and vocation story, and where I am right now and the people I am surrounded by - I couldn't have imagined this life for myself if I have tried.


I couldn't have imagined a husband like the one I have. I couldn't have imagined God leading us to the opportunity to serve the Church in the ways He has. I couldn't have imagined raising children running through the halls of a seminary, having seminarians juggle for them and Carmelite sisters handing them cookies by the handful. I couldn't have imagined the love and support we've experienced from this spiritual family of ours.


When Andrew and I (very suddenly, only six months into dating) felt an incredibly strong call to marriage, we wondered what it meant. Did God have something special in mind for us?? Years later, I now realize he did - the special, ordinariness of our vocation to marriage. Our vocation isn't flashy. Our holiness is growing through dirty diapers, night wakings, washing dishes, and wiping sticky little fingers. 

But as a bonus to the incredible vocation to marriage and parenthood, He has given us the additional opportunity to be a part of the formation of future priests. As time goes on, I feel the call to spiritual motherhood of seminarians grow stronger and stronger. 


As the recent scandal has broken in the Church, my greatest consolation has been my friendships with seminarians. These young men are entering into their vocation with eyes wide open, knowing the stigma around the priesthood in the culture. They are willingly, lovingly choosing to suffer for the Church. The recent scandal seems to have only strengthened them in their desire to lay their lives down (spiritually) for Christ's bride, the Church.



There is a hallway at the seminary that is lined with pictures of bishops who once were students there. I regularly remind my husband that he is not only helping to form future priests, but future bishops. It is certain that some of the young men we know will be one day be called to be bishops.

And do you know what? That thought fills me with more joy and hope than I can possibly say. These men are real men, men desiring to live lives of sacrifice and holiness. These are men longing for sainthood. These are men wanting to know how best they can serve the laity, and eager to listen to any stories or suggestions we have to share with them. They are undergoing an incredibly rigorous formation process, and that is only the beginning. Priesthood, in a time with fewer priests and increasing opposition to the Church, is harder than it has been in a long time in America.

But these men - these current and future priests and bishops - are men with fathers' hearts. They are the kind of men that quietly cut the meat on the plates at the children's table at a party, so their poor parents don't have to get up for the millionth time. They are the kind of men who will intentionally ring the entrance bell at Mass quieter, because they see you swaying with a sleepy baby in the vestibule. They are the kind of men who will anoint a sick pregnant woman, or offer to say Mass in her home, so she and her family can actually go to Mass together. They are the kind of men who will pray with you at the grave of your miscarried child, and text you years later on his patron saint day.

They are the kind of men who even when they have been ordained a bishop will still treat every person they meet as if they were incredibly important, and even remember to bring goldfish crackers for the children of the family when they come to dinner. 


There is a lot of pain in the Church, but I just want to tell you... don't give up hope. If the men we are friends with are any indication, there is so much hope for the future of the Church. May the Holy Spirit lead us.



2 comments:

  1. Oh that is so uplifting! I dare say our culture right now needs more men like this, period, both in the church and in the home. Praise God that these men are, in fact, out there!!

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  2. Thank you for this beautiful post!

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