August 3, 2012

Serra Club vocations essay

Priests and religious show in their lives a total dedication to God

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

By Weston Spalding (Special to The Criterion)

Weston SpaldingThe people that God chooses to lead us in Mass, pray for us in seclusion and guide us in our society in general help us to see Christ in all aspects of life.

Their actions, faith and love show us what life on this world could be.

They prove that while the kingdom of God may not be fully realized until we are one with God in heaven, the attitudes and lifestyle that Jesus wishes for us can bring peace and happiness on Earth—but only if we find God for ourselves.

When priests facilitate transubstantiation, they act “in persona Christi” (“in the person of Christ”), meaning they stand in for Christ who is not physically present.

Priests always act in the person of Christ, however. They show his qualities of love, obedience and faith. They are meant to guide us, teach us and help us in all ways possible. They are always meant to act in the person of Christ, to remind us of how we are supposed to live.

Blessed John Paul II said in “Vita Consecrata” (“The Consecrated Life”) that there have been people in every age who are called and are strong enough to answer the call.

He said that, through this calling, the many blessings bestowed upon them and their “undivided” dedication to God and their brothers and sisters, they “make the mystery and mission of the Church shine forth” (#1). He said that they make the desires of God visible to the rest of society, and help us to make it a reality in our own lives.

The best leaders throughout history have been those that guide through their own example. People like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. showed that nonviolent protest was possible, and changed the world’s view on how protest could occur.

Even leaders like George Washington or Clara Barton—who was involved in helping wounded Civil War soldiers and started the Red Cross—led in the same ways that religious are supposed to by their own example.

Similarly, priests are meant to lead us to God by their own example.

When they live out the commandments and teachings as Jesus intended us to, they show us how we need to behave and encourage us to act that way. Even the religious brothers and sisters that we do not see on a regular basis provide an incredible example of devotion that many of us can hardly understand.

To see another human commit themselves so fully based solely on faith causes us to evaluate ourselves and our own faith. In a way, they passively encourage us to find God personally, privately and socially.

The religious of the world show us it is possible to live for God more than anything else. Through them, we glimpse the kingdom of God and the existence that the Creator designed for us.

Through them, we gain insight into the true, undying and incomprehensible love of God.

(Weston and his parents, Jim and Catherine Spalding, are members of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in New Albany. He completed the 11th grade at Our Lady of Providence Jr./Sr. High School in Clarksville last spring, and is the 11th-grade division winner in the Indianapolis Serra Club’s 2012 John D. Kelley Vocations Essay Contest.)

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