August 1, 2014

Serra Club vocations essay

Priests, deacons and religious show God’s love in life, ministry

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

By Brian Martindale (Special to The Criterion)

Brian MartindaleWhen one thinks of love, oftentimes the first image is that of a married man and his wife.

In this relationship, the love is obvious as the two care for each other, and it is a beautiful way in which God chooses to demonstrate just a fraction of his infinite love for us.

In this vocation, God’s love is obvious. However, it can be more difficult to understand how those in religious vocations—sisters, deacons, priests and others—respond similarly to their call to love. However, this response is obvious when one truly sees how God can work in and through them.

One of the most basic ways in which we can see priests, men and women religious and permanent deacons responding to the call of love is through their sacrifice.

As Christ himself said, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15:13). Is this not what our priests and our religious do? They offer their lives as a sacrifice to God, giving up what pleasures they may have had in family life or the single life, in order to better serve us. Truly, this is a response to a calling of love!

Another profound way in which those in such vocations respond to a calling of love is through their great ministry. As they offer the sacraments, teach or even just lead by example, their ministry is to bring others closer to Christ.

They work tirelessly to spread the Gospel, to turn the world to Christ and to share God with their fellow man. This great desire to bring God to every person is one of the most loving actions a person could ever do: to bring love in such a meaningful way into the life of every person. This, in a very real way, is the true response to a calling of love.

Finally, they respond to a calling of love by choosing to turn to Love himself. As they pattern their lives off of their Eternal Maker, they themselves can grow closer to him who is love. By following and listening to their call of love, each priest, deacon and religious takes leaps and bounds toward God, and there can be no greater experience of love than that of God.

Because they chose to trust in the Lord and follow where he leads in love, they grow closer to love, which they can then share with the world as they continue to respond to their call.

As priests, permanent deacons and men and women religious live out their vocation, they respond to their calling of love. By giving up their lives for their Church, spreading the Gospel and the Good News of Jesus Christ, and by growing in their journey with God, each individual responds to the call to love and serve just as our Lord did and continues to do.
 

(Brian and his parents, Gary and Sandy Martindale, are members of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Carmel, Ind., in the Lafayette Diocese. He completed the 11th grade at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School in Indianapolis last spring, and is the 11th-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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