November 5, 2021

2021 Vocations Awareness Supplement

Living a holy life inspires holy vocations in others

By Father Michael Keucher (Special to The Criterion)

Father Michael KeucherIn speaking to a group of priests responsible for recruiting new seminarians, a saintly priest said this: “If you want Godly men, be Godly men.”

These words have become a motto for me lately. I carry them around with me in my mind and heart. I tell them to my brother priests. I tell them to myself.

Holy vocations produce more holy vocations. Put another way, a saint produces other saints.

If priests want more holy priests, then they must be holy priests—and vocations will follow.

Venerable Fulton Sheen commented that seeing a priest kneeling in silent prayer in a sacristy before Mass inspires more priestly vocations among altar boys than a thousand pieces of inspirational literature about the priesthood.

Holy, pious, active, zealous, charitable priests generate a future army of priests of the same sort. Brother priests: if we want Godly men in our ranks, we must be Godly men!

What about religious and consecrated women and men? It’s the same here, of course. St. Theodora Guérin, co-patronress of our archdiocese, famously wrote in her journals, “How impiety deadens the heart.”

She wrote, too, about the piety and holiness of one sister in particular who had had a profound impact on her vocation: “Sister St. Francis Xavier is necessary for my existence. … I have need of her advice, of her example, I will even say of her little scoldings.”

Mother Theodore knew it well: holy vocations inspire holy vocations. Her own vocation was proof. And think of how many she has inspired down through the years!

We see this principle of holiness begetting holiness in family life as well. Holy married couples tend to generate other holy families. Married couples in love with Jesus inspire other married couples to be in love with Jesus. This is the logic behind sponsor couples in marriage preparation; if an engaged couple is connected with a married couple on fire with love for Christ, that fire spreads.

Naturally, vocations cross pollinate as well. Many a great priest, for example, was inspired by a great nun or priest, or by the holiness they saw in their parents or other relatives.

All vocations need each other! Holy families need holy priests. Holy priests need holy families. Holy religious need holy priests. Holy priests need holy religious. It works in every direction. And we must remember: all vocations require holy families in order to come about and grow in the first place!

In this year’s Vocations Awareness Supplement, you will come to meet some folks who have fallen deeply in love with Jesus. These people were each inspired by others and, having been inspired, they are laying their lives down for our blessed Lord in beautiful ways, ways that God has prepared just for them.

Let us pray for them. Now they are inspiring others. And in this Vocations Awareness Supplement, let them inspire you and strengthen your own vocation.

Finally, let us remember this always: if you want holy vocations—which we all want and need—then be holy!
 

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

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