By Father Timothy Gollob
Special to The Texas Catholic
We were all taught by our parents and by our teachers that we were each called to be someone special. That call was labeled a “vocation.” As we grew up in a certain home or neighborhood, our first calling would be to orient ourselves to imitate our mother or father or some interesting neighbor. However, when a hint of some particular vocation snuck into our minds, we had to seek out advice. So it was in the stories of the Holy Scriptures.
Recent liturgies have given us several examples of this. At Epiphany we heard of the three wise astrologers who saw a star and read some ancient prophecies and asked advice of King Herod at the end of a long journey. We heard of the mission of John the Baptist who told his world to prepare for a coming Messiah. We heard about the Apostles who one by one recognized an opportunity to share the good news of salvation with each other and finally the world.
At the call of Samuel to be a prophet of the Lord, we heard that he was sleeping and heard someone call his name. So he went to his teacher, Eli, who counseled him to reply, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”
Back in the olden times (say the 50s and 60s) many a young man or woman who attended Catholic schools would be inspired by a teacher to consider a calling to be a sister or a brother or a priest. If someone thought that such a vocation was theirs, they would cautiously share this desire with their friends who would urge them to let a pastor or a counselor know. Then it was time to go and give their calling a try.
It was not easy. It was not a “piece of cake!” The realities of life soon loomed up and darkened the halls of many seminaries and convents. Times, they were a changing!
But just recently new initiatives have been offered in “Come and See” programs. One of these is sponsored by the Mepkin Trappist Abbey in South Carolina. It is called the Affiliate Program to be a Monk For A Month.
The monks got their inspiration from Pope Francis’ visit in 2015 when he said he had admiration for four great holy people from the United States: Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton. Since Merton was the Trappist monk who wrote wonderful spiritual books and poems, the monks at Mepkin thought… “Maybe if young people are exposed to this spirit of Thomas Merton for a month, they will want to learn more.”
No matter what your vocation is, when was the last time you awakened and told God, “Speak to me, Lord, I am listening!”
Father Timothy Gollob is the pastor of Holy Cross Catholic Church in Oak Cliff.