July 25, 2014

Serra Club vocations essay

St. Joseph, Mary serve as models for priests, deacons and religious

(Editor’s note: Following is the fourth in a series featuring the winners of the Indianapolis Serra Club’s 2014 John D. Kelley Vocations Essay Contest.)

By Benjamin Popson (Special to The Criterion)

Benjamin PopsonThe children of God are the foundation of the Church, and Christ is the cornerstone.

Since the Church’s priests, deacons, and holy brothers and sisters are called to be like Christ, they are to act as this cornerstone. Just as the cornerstone affects the layout and strength of a structure, the Church’s priests, deacons and religious men and women directly affect this structure that is the Church.

How are these holy leaders of the Church called to act as a cornerstone and affect Christ’s people?

Jesus Christ sacrificed his life for every human being who ever lived. This is exactly what religious men and women are called to do. These vital leaders in the Church are called to give up their lives to Christ and act as instruments of the Lord. They are called to express his love through their words and actions. They are called to reach out to all through the sacraments, council, sacrifice and charity.

St. Joseph, the human father of our Lord and patron saint of fathers, is a perfect role model for religious men and women pursuing God’s call of love. He sheltered and protected our Lord from the cruel world.

When his wife conceived by the Holy Spirit, he trusted in the Lord and continued to love her. Our holy men and women are called to foster the children of God with faith and trust in the Lord like St. Joseph.

They are called to protect God’s sheep from evil. Most of all, priests and deacons are called to be one with the Church, Christ’s bride, and love her through all circumstances.

As for religious women of the Church, they are called to be pure examples of Mary, the mother of God. They are called to reach out to Christ’s children through compassion and prayer.

Through each vow taken by these men and women, they express the same kind of love Jesus Christ showed on the cross.

Through the vow of obedience, religious men and women allow themselves to be guided by God through their hierarchal superiors. They give up complete independence in order to be led in the direction God desires for them.

Through the vow of poverty, some religious men and women give up wealth and material possessions in order to serve the Lord in humility and simplicity.

Through the vow of celibate chastity, religious leaders abstain from sexual activity for life. Each vow is taken out of love for the benefit of God’s people.

This is exactly how the religious leaders of the Church continue Christ’s ministry and guide his people—through love and sacrifice. As it is written in the Gospel of John, “There is no greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15:13).

Indeed, the Church’s priests, deacons and religious brothers and sisters answer their call through this greatest love. It is through this love through which we were saved, and it is through this love that these holy men and women are called to save.

(Benjamin and his parents, Michael and Claudia Popson, are members of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in New Albany. He completed the 10th grade at Our Lady of Providence Jr./Sr. High School in Clarksville last spring, and is the 10th-grade division winner in the Indianapolis Serra Club’s 2014 John D. Kelley Vocations Essay Contest.)


Related: Read more vocations stories from our archives

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