July 13, 2012

Serra Club vocations essay

There is ‘no competition’ in the race to the Kingdom of God

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

By Chris Easley (Special to The Criterion)

Chris EasleyOne of my favorite quotes of all time is, “If you’re not first, you’re last.”

Ricky Bobby, the race car driver in the iconic movie Talladega Nights, lived by that.

For Ricky, it was all about winning. It’s easy to win when it’s written into the script.

In real life, our only script is written by God. His will is that which will be done, regardless of what we want.

Our trophy is the Kingdom of God. How do we achieve that without being able to read our script?

Just as Jesus said, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be given to you besides,” (Mt 6:33) we need to focus on putting God first in our thoughts, our actions and our lives. With the help of our clergy and religious men and women, we can be successful.

Priests are our spiritual leaders and a direct link to God. A parish priest hears our confessions, and helps us repent for our sins. He inspires us through his homilies each week, and hopefully leads by example.

Our priests work tirelessly for the communities that they serve. Day and night, at a moment’s notice, the priest is there for us.

They are the shoulder for those who need to cry. They are the ear for those who need to vent. They are the hand for those that need help. Priests encourage us to choose the right path by teaching us how to incorporate the Scriptures into our daily lives.

Our religious brothers and sisters also work tirelessly for their causes. Many serve in international communities by tending to the sick, the poor and the dying. They risk their lives in some communities in order to spread the word of God in hopes of bringing each person into the fold so they, too, can enter the Kingdom of God.

Permanent deacons, although they do not have to forsake marriage in order to serve, provide the same spiritual guidance through their actions, passion and dedication to their parishioners. They are the extra set of hands to help spread God’s word.

Deacons are available to help counsel those in need. They provide a different perspective because they may have had the same life experience. A deacon also leads by example, inspiring each of us to give of our time, talents and treasures.

The Kingdom of God is our ultimate prize. Each of us wants to win this race. But in this race, there is no competition. That is the beauty of it. Every one of us can win if we follow the teachings of God.

Our clergy are the pit crew in our race to seek righteousness. We are in the driver’s seat, but here it’s OK to be last.

Whether it’s in the beginning of your life or at the end, if you put God first and you believe that he is our Savior, you will win the prize. The Kingdom of God will be yours for eternity.

(Chris and his parents, Greg and Barb Easley, are members of Holy Family Parish of the Richmond Catholic Community in Richmond. He completed the eighth grade at Seton Catholic High School in Richmond last spring, and is the eighth-grade division winner in the Indianapolis Serra Club’s 2012 John D. Kelley Vocations Essay Contest.)

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