July 6, 2012

Serra Club vocations essay

Priests, religious give inspiration to seek God’s kingdom first in our lives

(Editor’s note: Following is the first in a series featuring the winners of the Indianapolis Serra Club’s 2012 John D. Kelley Vocations Essay Contest.)

By Nicholas Tomlin (Special to The Criterion)

Nicholas TomlinIn his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told his disciples, “But seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Mt 6:33).

The message to his followers is simple. We are to seek the spiritual gifts of God over the material things of this world.

When we do so, God will provide for us. These instructions seem easy to follow. But they can be difficult to put into practice with all the distractions in our lives.

In the world we live in, a lot of emphasis is placed on our material possessions and status.

We admire celebrities for how they look and what they own, not for their character. We try to imitate them by wearing the right type of clothing, owning the latest gadgets, and hanging out with the coolest people.

Jesus tells us to forget these earthly pursuits and worry about whether our time and energy is spent seeking God. Instead of modeling ourselves after celebrities, we should model ourselves after the spiritual leaders of our Church.

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta is the embodiment of what it means to seek first the kingdom of God.

As a teenager, she left her family to become a teaching nun. After a few years, she discovered that her true calling was to serve and comfort the poor, sick, orphaned and dying.

She left the safety of her convent to start the Missionaries of Charity. In the early years, she encountered a lot of hardship and had to beg for food and supplies.

Her work soon attracted volunteers and charitable donations. By the time of her death, her ministry had 4,000 nuns running charity centers for the poor worldwide. Mother Teresa spent her life sharing the spiritual gifts of God with others.

Every day, our religious brothers and sisters are living examples of how to seek first the kingdom of God.

Priests and brothers in religious orders and nuns take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. They vow to make God first above all other things, and they spend the majority of their time in the service of God and God’s people. As Jesus promised in his sermon, their earthly needs are provided for by the Church.

When we find ourselves becoming overwhelmed with concerns about our material wealth, we should look to our spiritual leaders for inspiration.

Listen to the words of Mother Teresa. “Let us more and more insist on raising funds of love, of kindness, of understanding, of peace. Money will come if we seek first the kingdom of God—the rest will be given.”

(Nicholas is the son of James Tomlin and Kerri Wilkinson. He is a member of Holy Family Parish in New Albany. He completed the seventh grade at Holy Family School in New Albany last spring, and is the seventh-grade division winner in the Indianapolis Serra Club’s 2012 John D. Kelley Vocations Essay Contest.)

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