A few weeks ago, I went to a Catholic Mass during which we said the following prayer for vocations:
Lord Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father and Mary Immaculate,
give to our young people the generosity necessary
to follow Your call and the courage required
to overcome all obstacles to their vocation.
Give to parents that faith, love and spirit of sacrifice
which will inspire them to offer their children
to God’s service and to rejoice whenever
one of their children is called to the priesthood or religious life.
May Your example and that of Your Blessed Mother
and Saint Joseph encourage both young people
and parents and let Your grace sustain them. Amen.
I tend to have mixed feelings when it comes to prayers for vocations, but this one resonated with me, because it addressed the heart of the problem.
“Give our young people the generosity necessary to follow Your call and the courage required to overcome all obstacles to their vocation.”
And I had to smile inside, as I thought about all the womenpriests, married priests, queer priests, and others who are shut out of “official” Catholicism, but who have found creative ways to follow their vocations just the same.
I find myself wondering if those who are in total alignment with official Church teaching notice the irony in this prayer. It isn’t hard to see that the biggest obstacle to vocations is the Church itself.
Born with XX chromosomes? We don’t want your vocation.
Attracted to the same sex? We don’t want yours, either.
Want to marry and have a family? Or have sex at some point in your life? Sorry, but you must not have a true vocation to the priesthood.
Except these people do have true vocations. And as thousands of Catholics are praying these words every week, I thank God that their prayers are being answered.