July 28, 2006

Serra Club vocations essay: Priests, brothers and sisters enrich others with God’s grace

By Luke Reynolds

Priests, brothers and sisters are messengers of God’s invitation to attain happiness.

These blessed followers of Christ understand the true meaning of God’s will as lived out in his son, Jesus. His will, as based on John 13, is to evangelize by serving others.

“How happy will you be if you put it into practice” (Jn 13:17). It is in this passage that we see God’s plan, a plan that will bring us happiness in this life and in the next.

As priests, brothers and sisters symbolically wash the soles of our feet, they diligently serve to promote a widespread, divine revelation. To those who do not yet know the Lord as Savior, these ministers spread the Word of God.

As for those whose lives are already rooted in Catholic tradition, the service of the clergy takes on a different role.

This role is simply expressed in John 13:10: “Whoever has bathed has no need except to have his feet washed, for he is clean all over.”

Thus, to those who have already been baptized into the Church, priests, brothers and sisters act as teachers who try to lift the veil of humanity away from our eyes so that we may truly find God.

“What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later” (Jn 13:7).

It is our humanity and constant condition of sin that impairs our ability to understand what it is that Jesus is preaching. Priests, brothers and sisters, however, have devoted their life to God; thus, they have achieved an enlightened understanding of Christ’s teachings.

These teachings, found in the Church, serve to act as an example for Jesus’ disciples. Therefore, it might be said that priests, brothers and sisters act as a spiritual, full-service ‘grace’ station.

In the humble attitude of their character, they wash our feet, forgive our sins, and bestow upon us and enrich our lives with the grace of God.

If the purpose of Church leaders is to continually tend and care for the congregation of saplings, how is it that the Church grows?

This answer lies in our hands. It is when we, the congregation, grow from mere saplings to a fortified wood, and when we live with enough humility to wash the feet of others, that the Church exudes the glorious soundings of its tradition, and brings new life and light to those whose hearts were previously hidden underneath bushel baskets.

Thus, following the model that Jesus taught, priests, brothers and sisters, through living out the Word of God, are an endless example of Jesus’ teachings—teachings that are not of love, but rather, are love.

(Luke Reynolds is the son of Les and Sue Reynolds, members of St. Luke the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis. Luke recently graduated from Bishop Chatard High School in Indianapolis and is the 12th-grade division winner in the 2006 Serra Club Vocations Essay Contest.) †


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