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(Editor’s note: Following is the fourth in a series featuring the winners of the 2009 Indianapolis Serra Club Vocations Essay Contest.)
As teenagers, hearing isn’t really a problem for most of us. The problem is listening—understanding what we hear and acting on it.
Sometimes, when our parents tell us to clean our room or to put away our cell phone and study, for example, we hear it, but we don’t follow through.
Priests, deacons, and religious brothers and sisters are the best people to model ourselves after because they always follow through.
They listen to what they are being told, and they understand it better than anyone else in this world. They have the courage and the faith to accept God’s plan for their lives. They don’t just hear God’s call, they listen to it.
Therefore, when we have trouble trying to understand what God is calling us to do, the best thing we can do is turn to one of these people for help.
Priests, deacons, and religious brothers and sisters set the bar for us. They are the closest thing to a perfect example of heeding God’s call that we will ever find.
Through their example, inspiration, coaching and coaxing, they help us to understand God’s vision for us, and they point us in the right direction as we try to follow through.
They provide us with motivation by sacrificing material things, by staying true to their beliefs, no matter what, and by providing us with a “safe place” to explore our beliefs and feelings while in their presence.
Through living simply and remaining faithful to God’s call, the priest and sisters at Cathedral High School in Indianapolis give my classmates and me the courage to stand apart and to really listen to God’s message even when we “plug our ears” and when we fail to listen to God.
Father William Munshower, our chaplain, and our sisters are constant reminders of what God wants for us.
Whether Father Munshower is encouraging us to really feel the “Alleluia” at Mass or the sisters are advocating compassion for the underprivileged, they are a very visible and constant reminder of God’s goodness.
All priests, deacons, and religious brothers and sisters should be role models in our lives. They encourage, and even demand, us to look within ourselves to see what gifts we have been blessed with by God.
They challenge us to use those gifts in a positive way each and every day as we constantly work toward the goal of hearing God’s call, listening to it and then following through.
(Kelley and his parents, Tom and Lisa Ford, are members of St. Pius X Parish in Indianapolis. He completed the 10th grade at Cathedral High School in Indianapolis last spring, and is the 10th-grade division winner in the 2009 Indianapolis Serra Club Vocations Essay Contest.) †