August 22, 2008

Serra Club vocations essay

Priests, deacons and religious use ‘different nets’ in ministry

By Kirk Meyers (Special to The Criterion)

Kirk MeyersThere are many different “nets” that priests, deacons, and religious brothers and sisters use to capture souls for the Lord’s purpose. There are four broad categories that these “nets” fall under. These four categories are preaching, prayer, work and self-sacrifice.

The first “net” that they use to call others is the net of preaching.

Jesus preached much during his life here on Earth. He converted thousands by the truth and love that he spoke. An example of a person who followed Jesus and spread his truth to others is St. John Chrysostom. He attracted gigantic crowds when he spoke. St. John used God’s truth and God’s gift of elegant speech to convert thousands to his call.

The next “net” is the net of praying.

Jesus prayed all the time for the faith of his disciples and for the strength of perseverance for his Church. He prayed that his Church would become a flourishing abode for all those who seek the truth, love and knowledge of God.

A great example of one who followed his lead of praying is St. Thérèse of Lisieux. She prayed fervently for the salvation of many souls and sinners. St. Thérèse also became a doctor of the Church for her “little way” to heaven.

The work that our religious brothers and sisters do is another “net” of our Lord.

Jesus worked throughout his life. He worked miracles and chased demons from the sick and possessed. He cared for the sinners and worked with them to lead them to a better way of life. His miracles and good works lead many to believe in him and the truth and love that he taught.

One great saint who took this aspect to heart was St. Francis of Assisi. He had started as a son of a wealthy merchant but, when God called him, St. Francis became a friar and created the order of Franciscans.

This order was made to work and serve others as Jesus taught his disciples to serve. Today, the Franciscans still work all over the world for the salvation of souls.

The last “net” is the net of self-sacrifice.

Jesus gave us the ultimate sacrifice of his life. Jesus loved us so much that he gave up himself so that whoever believed in him would not die, but have eternal life.

The Church’s first deacon and martyr, St. Stephen, sacrificed his life so that people might hear God’s word. He gave his life so that the people around him might truly understand and love Jesus more fully.

St. Stephen’s last words were, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them,” (Acts 7:60) showing us what it truly means to be self-sacrificial.

Although there are four distinct “nets” that priests, deacons, and religious brothers and sisters use to capture souls, many times these nets seem to overlap.

Jesus didn’t use only one or two of these nets to convert people, he used all four. This tells us that no one net is more effective for conversion than the other nets. You need a combination of all four to have the truth shown in full form.

It may seem hopeless to follow these examples today, but all things can happen with God on your side. All you need is trust in God and his Providence to be able to follow his lead.

Thanks to God’s power, priests, deacons, and religious brothers and sisters follow Christ’s lead every day in teaching the faith with the nets he has provided for them.

(Kirk Meyers and his parents, Mark and Annette Meyers, are members of Annunciation Parish in Brazil. Last spring, he completed the 12th grade as a home-schooled student and is the 12th-grade division winner in the 2008 Indianapolis Serra Club Vocations Essay Contest.)

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