October 30, 2020

2020 Religious Vocations Supplement

Where there is love, sacrifice is easy

By Father Michael Keucher

Father Michael KeucherKing Solomon wrote in the Old Testament book the Song of Songs that “many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it” (Sg 8:7). There is something about love that overtakes a person. Taken over by love, or having fallen in love, a person will do anything.

Consider, for example, a man who has fallen in love with a woman he hopes will one day be his bride. He would move a mountain for her, shovel load by shovel load. It’s the same principle at work for a new mother whose child is her life. Her daily sacrifices for her child prove easy, so much has she fallen in love with her child.

If this is true in our human relationships, what about our life with God?

First, let us remember that God loved us first. Each of us is “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps 139:14) We were each chosen “before the foundation of the world” (Eph 1:4). Jesus took us in his heart when he went to the cross. In other words, God loved us first—and he loved us to the end.

Likewise, people who have truly fallen in love with God will do anything for him and will love him to the end. No matter what call they might receive, or what call within a call they might hear, they will always enthusiastically say, “Yes.” Their love prompts this response in them.

Where there is love, sacrifice is easy.

Naturally, this does not mean that the living out of our sacrifices is always easy. No vocation is without difficulty, without the cross. A mother of five may sometimes have a headache, but her decision to take care of her children and love them is easy.

It is similar with the martyrs. No doubt it was hard for them to pay the ultimate price, but the decision to do it was easy, for it was prompted by love.

Think of the lives of all the saints. They did great things for God. They sacrificed much—their whole lives! And why? Because they loved God. They had fallen in love with him. And they had vowed their lives to his service, no matter the call.

I often think that one of our biggest priorities as Church must be to help our youth love Jesus and Mary—I mean truly love them. That would solve the “vocations crisis” we hear people talking about. Great love for God brings about many vocations.

Blessed Carlo Acutis is a timely example of a youth who fell madly in love with Our Blessed Lord. A native of Milan, Italy, Carlo died of leukemia at the age of 15 in 2006. He loved soccer and computer programming. He used his gifts to create a website that profiled all the known eucharistic miracles in the world. So great was his love for God that he once said, “To be always close to Jesus, that is my life plan.”

Carlo’s story and example reminds us that people of all ages, including the young millennials of our own day, have the capacity to love Jesus and Mary deeply. Though they are young, they still have the grace-driven ability—which the rest of the Church is called to encourage and foster—to consecrate their lives to God’s service.

In this year’s Religious Vocations Awareness Supplement in The Criterion, you will come to meet some folks who have fallen deeply in love with Jesus. Out of this love, they are laying their lives down for our blessed Lord in beautiful ways, ways that God has prepared for them. Let us pray for them. Let us be inspired by their love and each of us grow our own.

(Father Michael Keucher is vocations director of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. He can be e-mailed at mkeucher@archindy.org. He also serves as pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Shelbyville and sacramental minister of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Shelby County.)


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