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Begin each day with prayer, Father Patrick Beidelman advised a group of young adults who are discerning their vocation in life.
Then the vice rector of the Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary in Indianapolis and archdiocesan director of liturgy thanked the 14 young adults for giving so much of their time to Jesus in meaningful and life-giving ways during a Lenten day of reflection on vocations to the priesthood and religious life on Feb. 26 at the St. Augustine Home for the Aged in Indianapolis.
“Deciding to be here … is a gift to the Lord,” he said. “I think it pleases the Lord that we’re here. Thank you for coming and having an openness to reflect on faith and to worship our Lord, but also to receive his mercy and grace, which is so fitting and appropriate during this Lenten season.”
Whatever vocation that God is calling you to accept and pursue in life, Father Beidelman said, “the best way we can start our day is by beginning it in acknowledgement of God’s Providence and blessing in our lives, and a real hope to share everything of the day … as an offering to God in service of our Lord.”
The day of reflection featured the celebration of Mass, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction at the St. Augustine Home Chapel as well as vocation talks by Father Beidelman, seminarian David Marcotte from St. Michael Parish in Greenfield, and three Little Sisters of the Poor—Sister Judith Meredith, the superior, and Sisters Elizabeth Kleibusch and Marie Cecilia Fausto.
“The goal of Lent leads us to a fuller experience of the mystery of God’s love for us,” Father Beidelman said. “As we approach the season of Easter, we need to keep that goal in mind. We are being called to a fuller life—a life of deeper freedom, deeper peace and ultimately a deeper experience of God’s love. … So we are joyful because the Lord gives us ways to do that. He helps us to step … into picking up his rhythm, his ways, his will in our lives. My hope and my prayer today is that if you are searching, if you are seeking to know the will of God more fully in your life, that this day might be a point of clarity for you.”
Discerning a vocation to the priesthood, religious life, marriage or single life requires listening for God’s voice in our daily life experiences, he said. “It’s good for us to be around holy people, … and to sit in the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. … Our vocational journeys are very personal. We are people who need to connect with God at the very deepest level of who we are so that we might hear his voice speaking to us.”
The holy Scriptures assure us that “God knows us better than we know ourselves,” Father Beidelman said, “which is why it’s good for us to talk to him because we can come to know and to be our truest and best selves in our dialogue and communication with him. God knows each of us by name, and can speak to us personally in our hearts about what his dreams are for us.”
When people give themselves over to God, Father Beidelman said, they can begin to discover deep peace, joy and happiness in life.
“I had to find my way,” he said, “and that ultimately came with uncovering who I was and what my gifts were—what God had given me to share with the world to build up his kingdom here on Earth.
“When I started learning about who I was, what I liked to do and what made me happy,” he said, “I began to realize that I liked being in front of people. I liked serving in positions of leadership. I liked prayer. I liked serving [and] being with people. I liked the feeling that I was a part of something much larger, just beyond what I could individually do. All of these were sign posts along the road that helped me begin to realize that maybe a vocation to the priesthood might fit for me.
“That sense of belonging, and that desire to serve and make a difference in people’s lives,” he said, “began to really lead me to giving God a chance to speak in my heart, to say my name, and to call me to a life of service and love in ministry in the Church. … That’s a gift. That’s a grace. [But] it isn’t like that for everybody because our journeys and our ways of uncovering God’s dreams for us are very personal.”
When we discern what God’s dreams are for us and say yes to the Lord, Father Beidelman said, we receive so much goodness in return.
“It’s like God opened a fire hydrant of grace, mercy and blessing,” he said, “and we’re overwhelmed … with the Lord’s presence, his peace, his consolation, his guidance, his wisdom. … I think a lot of people would say that when they discern whatever their call is—to the single life, to the married life, to priesthood or to consecrated life—many people would say when they pick up on what that dream is that ultimately God opens the flood gates of his love and his presence.
“If you are searching [for your vocation],” he said, “my prayer is that you can get to that place where the flood gates are opening on you. … So put yourself around holy things. Be in holy situations with holy people. It will rub off on you. … Give God a chance … so that he might use you to build up God’s kingdom on Earth. … The Lord is calling you in a powerful way to be the best disciple of Christ that you can be.
“… I don’t think there is any way that we can do that other than having a little bit of silence in our days,” Father Beidelman said, “… so the Lord can come to us and speak to us in our hearts.” †