“For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you, because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.” 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5
Back in October 2014, I set out from St Mary’s College, Oscott in Birmingham early one Saturday morning with two seminarians (students for the diocesan priesthood) to attend the Second Saturday Convention in West Bromwich. This was our very first visit to the Convention, and the first thing that struck me was the sheer number of cars and coaches that were in attendance. I was then immediately impressed by the powerful atmosphere of reverence and prayer that there was before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. It was a delight to join so many of my brother priests and deacons for the celebration of Holy Mass. It was also a joy to see so many recognisable faces in the congregation! Three of these faces were of young men who I know are actively exploring their own vocation with the possibility of becoming priests.
One my roles is to serve as the Vocations Director for the Archdiocese of Birmingham; and looking out at so many young men and women, boys and girls, I could not help but think that the Lord must be calling some of these young men and women, some of YOU! to serve Him in the Church as priests, deacons and consecrated people.
Knowing what a large number of young people will be reading this magazine, and knowing the depth of your own faith, and your openness to give your lives generously and lovingly in service of others, I would like to encourage you to look very deep into your own hearts and to ask yourself a very important question: What kind of a person do you think God is calling you to be? What kind of a person do you, deep-down, long and yearn to be? This is the question that Pope Benedict XVI asked young people to consider when he visited the United Kingdom a few years ago.
‘Who are we called to be?’ This is the most important question you will ever ask yourselves in your lives. It is, therefore, so important not only that you ask this question, but that you also seek the advice of good and wise people to help you ask and answer this question properly. Listening to the voice of the Lord and answering this question is what we mean by ‘discernment’. When you read the New Testament, you will know that when the Lord calls people to follow him, the first response is sometimes to be disturbed or afraid, just like Our Lady or Saint Peter. But it also shows that when we are honest with ourselves and trust in the Lord, we will find a pathway through life that will lead us to a wonderful freedom, happiness, and joy. So, if you are worried or anxious or fearful of what being a priest or a religious in the Church could mean for you, please don’t ignore these questions but share them with a trusted priest or layperson and see whether this great adventure of vocation and faith will lead you in ways that you perhaps did not expect!
Some great websites to look up that may help you a little bit are as follows: www.vocations.org.uk www.invocation.org.uk
I hope I shall see some of you again at future Second Saturday Conventions. In the meantime, may God bless you all!
Written by Fr Paul Moss